(Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics)

If you were to look at my arms, you would see a tattoo that says “We walk by faith, not by sight.” It's a verse from 2 Corinthians 5:7, but it's also the motto for my life.

When you can only see out of one eye, it almost has to be.

I wasn't always blind in my right eye – that didn't happen until I was hit with a baseball at 11 years old. First base wasn't my normal position, but on this particular day I was there at the bag, trying to keep a runner from stealing second.

The problem was that I didn't understand all the rules of the game at that point, and when the pitcher tried to pick the runner off, I was completely unprepared for the throw. And before I could put my glove in position to catch the ball, it struck me in the eye.

That began a four year fight to save my vision in that eye. A fight I ultimately lost.

We tried to save the retina, which had become detached, but it was no use. In 2009, as a sophomore in high school, my eye was taken out, and just like that I was blind in one eye.

Man, it was really weird. Just waking up one day and being able to see one side of the room. That's something people really take for granted. I had absolutely no depth perception...I couldn't even pour water into glass unless I held the glass right against the faucet so I could feel it. To this day, I still have no depth perception.

And yet, somehow, I shoot baskets for a living. The only way to explain that, really, is God.


(Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics)

Back then, as a high school player, I knew I had to adjust my game if I was going to earn a college scholarship. I relied on muscle memory as I learned how to shoot again, and by the time I was graduating from high school, I was one of the top recruits in the country.

I grew up in Texas, so I decided to head over to nearby Waco and play for the Baylor Bears. I was pretty good as a freshman, but decided to come back for my sophomore season. After putting up impressive numbers for the second straight year, I knew it was time. I was declaring for the NBA Draft.

In the weeks before the big day, my stock seemed to be rising. Teams were conducting workouts with me, and as word spread that I was thriving in the drills, more teams wanted last minute tryouts. The question wasn't whether or not I would get drafted, but rather which team was going to draft me and how big that first paycheck would be.

That's when I opened that door to my Aunt’s house, and things were never the same. One of my favorite sayings, however, is that God's plan is the ultimate plan, and within a few days I was on the phone with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. I wasn't going to be playing in the NBA, but on draft night my name was still going to get called.

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Thomas Hager