Jan. 19, 2010
Editors Note: Matt Brown, a noted Southern California photographer, has produced a poignant 20-minute video feature on Cal State Northridge forward Michael Lizarraga, the nation's only NCAA Division I basketball player who is deaf.
The story features extensive interviews with Matador head coach Bobby Braswell, senior forward Willie Galick, and team interpreter Erin Matthews. This feature is now available for viewing at mattbrownphoto.com. Click the link "portfolio", and then click the link "multimedia" and scroll down to the title of the feature, "Hearing Within".
More than 12,000 viewers have already seen the Lizarraga feature story in recent weeks.
This is a story you will not soon forget.
Northridge, Calif. - Michael Lizarraga doesn't allow any physical hurdles to prevent him from enjoying the opportunity to compete in major college athletics.
Lizarraga, a junior forward on the Cal State Northridge men's basketball team, is the only deaf basketball player competing on the NCAA Division I level. Lizarraga, a 6-foot-7, 230-pound junior forward, doesn't allow his physical disability affect his desire to play and compete to the best of his abilities on the basketball court and in the classroom.
Lizarraga has played in all 19 games this year, including eight games as a starter. His best games included a season-high eight points, six rebounds, three blocks and two steals at nationally-ranked Washington.
Lizarraga, who has been deaf since birth, graduated from California School for the Deaf in northern California. In addition to being a star on the basketball team in high school, Lizarraga also played football (tight end, wide receiver, quarterback) and baseball (pitcher, first baseman, outfielder).
Lizarraga's athletic abilities at California School for the Deaf resulted in being named a three-time all-league player in basketball, and twice all-conference in baseball.
Lizarraga arrived at Cal State Northridge because of the school's renowned program for deaf students. His basketball talents have also landed Lizarraga a spot on the Matador team for the past three seasons. During his tenure at CSUN, the team has won two Big West regular season championships, and a trip to the NCAA Tournament (2008-09).
Michael Lizarraga - Junior, Recreation, Tourism and Management Major
Born - February 25, 1989 in Woodland, Calif.
Parents - Cari and Tavo Lizarraga ... Michael lists his parents as his greatest heroes.
Favorite NBA team - Sacramento Kings
Favorite NBA player - LeBron James
Favorite Actors - Jim Carrey, Chris Tucker
Favorite Foods - Loves Chinese and Mexican food
Greatest Sports Moments - His high school beating Head Royce School after 22 years
Being a Student-Athlete - The best thing about being an athlete is keeping in shape, but the toughest part is the time commitment
The Person In History He Most Would Have Liked To Have Met - Martin Luther King, Jr.