Mike was once your typical solid high school and collegiate player. Now he is someone who performs eye-pleasing tricks with the basketball and is a crowd favorite. He stands only 5'9" and has a natural affinity with children; everyone can relate to him in some way. "Mighty Mike" is your regular "boy next door" that has used his God-given gifts and work ethic to overcome his limitations and make his dreams in basketball come true. His background, struggles and captivating skills are something that you can be encouraged by and learn from for days to come. You'll learn what it takes to be self-driven and have a heart bigger than the size of a basketball!
"Mighty Mike" Simmel has been a member of the Harlem Wizards professional basketball team and a featured show performer at halftimes since 2001.
Mike has performed at both NBA and College Halftime Shows, live on
NBC's "It's Showtime at The Apollo", at the NBA's "Rhythm n' Rims Festival", and at the 2009 NCAA Men's Final Four Celebration.
Since 1998, Mike Simmel has lectured and performed at over 450 basketball camps. Including UConn, Georgia Tech, Villanova, Boston College, Seton Hall, Providence, Rutgers, George Mason, UMass, Holy Cross, UPenn, George Washington, Hofstra, Rider, Brown, Loyola, Navy, Quinnipiac, FDU, Bucknell, Mount Saint Mary's, Manhattan, Fordham, Fairfield, Iona, Central Connecticut State, Stetson, Florida Southern, University of North Florida, Mark Price Basketball Academy, Hoop Mountain, Chris Ford Basketball School and other leading College, High School, Youth and Specialty Boys & Girl's Basketball Camps throughout the East Coast.
Mike was a two-year Team Captain at Purchase College (SUNY), where he led the team in assists and steals; he graduated with a degree in Liberal Studies in May 2002.
Mike is also a former part-time ball boy with the New York Knicks, working Knick games at Madison Square Garden.
Mike Simmel is a national spokesman for Epilepsy Awareness. He speaks annually and performs at the Epilepsy Foundation of America's Kids Speak Up and US Public Policy Institute in Washington DC. In 2009, he was a principal performer and guest at the Epilepsy Foundation's National Walk for Epilepsy on the Mall in Washington, DC. Since 2002, Mike has been the Keynote Speaker at many Epilepsy Foundation affiliated special events as well as performed and spoke at many camps for special needs children across the country. He has also worked on several occasions, speaking and performing for the Special Olympics. In 2006, he was the Honorary Chairman of The Walk for A Brighter Tomorrow held by the Epilepsy Foundation of NJ/Family Resource Network. Mike constantly looks to donate his time and talents encouraging and advocating for people, especially children, who have epilepsy and other disabilities.
Mike started The Bounce Out the Stigma Project, Inc. in 2005 as a grassroots campaign to educate the public, teach healthy lifestyle choices and empower youth, based on his personal experiences. With its highly successful school assembly programs, Mighty Mike travels nationally speaking to young people regarding: disability awareness character education, anti-bullying, goal-setting and much more. Mighty Mike's signature Bounce Out the Stigma Basketball Camps and Clinics have now spread throughout five states in the last eight years: NJ, NY, IL, SC and NC.
And Mike is the subject of a children's storybook he co-authored, called Mighty Mike Bounces Back. The book was released in October 2011 and published by Magination Press, an imprint of the American Psychological Association.
In September 2009, Mike was honored during the 71st annual Ceremony by
the United States Jaycees as one of the nation's Ten Outstanding Young
Americans in Orlando, FL. Past recipients of the prestigious TOYA award have included Presidents John
Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Bill Clinton, and Vice Presidents
Al Gore, Dan Quayle, and Richard Cheney. Also honored were Howard Hughes,
Orson Wells, Elvis Presley, Nelson Rockefeller, Ted Kennedy, Gayle Sayers,
Arthur Ashe, Peyton Manning and Bill Bradley.
Mike also received the 2009 Connecticut Outstanding Young Americans
Award by the Connecticut Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees), for
his work both on and off the basketball court.
In May 2009, he was honored by the
Governor of New Jersey with the Alvin Slootsky Exemplary Recreation
Lifestyle Award for work with people with disabilities.
In August 2007, Mike was honored and given the Maxwell J. Schleifer
Distinguished Service Award by Exceptional Parent Magazine for his
contributions to the special needs community during the annual Disability
Awareness Night at Yankee Stadium.
Mike being honored at Yankee Stadium during Disability Awareness Night
Mike has also spoke and performed at national events for major
pharmaceutical companies, providing an unique insight into overcoming obstacles. From 2004-06, he was a national spokesman with Eisai Pharmaceuticals and their Changing Faces of Epilepsy Campaign. In 2006-07, he was a national spokesman for Abbott Laboratories pharmaceutical company on childhood epilepsy.
In January 2002, he was the feature of a TV News segment on the Regional News Network (RNN) and was given the "Pepsi Sports Award". Mike has appeared on FOX, PBS, MSG Network and CBS College Sports Network as well as other local TV news shows for his work both on the court and in the community. He has also been a featured guest on many radio shows across the country including Radio Disney, ESPN Radio, Bloomberg Radio, and voiceamerica.com's Disability Matters.
Mike is the subject of a children's storybook he co-authored,
published by Magination Press in 2011. In 2013, Mike was honored by the Children's Hospital of Monefiore in New York with the Good Citizenship Award for all his work on the court and in the community.