Li Anqiang is a hero in his school and his community for saving the life of a classmate during the Sichuan earthquake.
He has a hero, too: NBA star Kobe Bryant.
And even though the 17-year-old student of Beichuan High School in Sichuan has lost the use of both legs, he hasn't lost the passion for basketball because he adores the Los Angeles shooting guard's skills.
Now, he has a basketball signed by Bryant - and words of admiration and encouragement from his idol.
On Feb 27, Li emailed Bryant through the popular portal Sina.com, expressing his admiration and asking for a signed basketball.
He asked if "Uncle Kobe" had heard about the quake that claimed nearly 70,000 people - and said he still loved basketball because of Bryant.
"I can no longer stand up or run but I can still shoot hoops from my wheelchair
"I will not give up, but will keep on playing because you are my idol."
Li sent a picture of himself playing basketball from his wheelchair, saying: "I will keep the basketball in my room and look at it everyday. It will give me strength I want to be a real man, a man useful to society."
In his reply, Bryant said he was moved, hailing Li as a "strong boy whose attitude toward fate was amazing".
He said he was happy that Li still loved basketball and added Li looked cool shooting a hoop from the wheelchair.
Li's mother Wang Fengqiong, 36, told China Daily her son has been in high spirits ever since receiving Bryant's letter and autographed basketball.
School principal Liu Yachun said: "After a hectic schedule in school, Li, who has never met a foreigner, also studies English before going to bed."
That's because Li has heard that Bryant might visit China this year, said Huang Peng, an editor at Sina.com.
"He is studying English so that he can talk to Kobe," said Li Yong, the student's 38-year-old father. "Kobe told him that like playing basketball, one has to practice to become perfect."
read the complete story it's amazing what this boy went through and will continue to go through, but kobe made his life a little brighter