WUOMFM

Former MSU basketball player with autism leads anti-bullying campaign

Nov 8, 2016

Doctors told Anthony Ianni's parents he’d have a tough time graduating high school. As for college? Forget it. The doctors predicted he would wind up living in a group home. But Ianni had other ideas. 

Anthony has Pervasive Development Disorder, which puts him on the autism spectrum. Despite the dire predictions of his doctors, Ianni became the first person with Autism Spectrum Disorder to play college basketball in the Big Ten Conference. Not only that, but he played at one of the country's top programs at Michigan State. Ianni was in East Lansing between 2009 and 2012 and was part of the Spartan teams that won two Big Ten championships, a Big Ten tournament title and made an appearance in the NCAA Final Four.

Ianni graduated from MSU with a degree in sociology and now works with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, where he is leading the fight against bullying by taking his Relentless Tour to schools around Michigan. 

Ianni joined Stateside to talk about his journey from a kid from nearby Okemos who was bullied, to an athlete playing for Hall of Fame head coach Tom Izzo at Michigan State.

Listen to the full interview above to hear about his own experiences with having autism, his conversations with bullies, and his advice for kids who face bullying in their own lives.

(Subscribe to the Stateside podcast on iTunesGoogle Play, or with this RSS link)