Polaris Slingshot and NBA alum and Memphis basketball head coach Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway partnered to “Light It Up Blue” in recognition of World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, 2021.
According to an announcement, with its natural ability to garner attention and spark conversation, Hardaway is leveraging the Slingshot’s bold, head-turning design to help drive awareness on behalf of Autism Speaks, a leading autism awareness group that educates and seeks acceptance for people with autism.
In 2001, Hardaway’s son, Jayden, was diagnosed and placed on the autism spectrum. Hardaway’s first-hand experience of parenting a child on the spectrum has led him to become a leading autism awareness advocate, working closely with Autism Speaks and other organizations to raise awareness and increase acceptance into the world for people with autism.
“Autism and autism related disorders are very near and dear to my heart, as we battled alongside my son after his diagnosis at the age of 2,” said Hardaway in the announcement. “We worked in conjunction with his speech, occupational and behavioral therapists to help him along his path. With Jay’s hardworking demeanor, we kept pushing forward without knowing what his outcome would be, and as a result, Jayden was no longer on the autism spectrum by third grade.”
Hardaway, a new owner of a 2021 Slingshot SL, partnered with the brand to help amplify his message and drive mass awareness for World Autism Awareness Day. The Slingshot’s bold styling, open-air cockpit and three-wheel configuration make it nearly impossible to miss on the road. It demands attention at every corner and solicits conversation at every stop.
“The Slingshot owners’ community is a tight-knit family, and we’ve seen instances time-and-time again where they come together as a group or individually to drive awareness for a worthy cause,” said Chris Sergeant, vice president of Polaris Slingshot, in the announcement. “As a new owner, we’re excited to welcome Penny into our family and are honored to support him and Autism Speaks in getting the message out about World Autism Awareness Day.”
“If you want to draw attention, jump into the cockpit of a Slingshot,” said Hardaway. “As a new owner, I wanted to utilize my ride as a platform to get the World Autism Awareness Day message out and ask fans all over to ‘Light It Up Blue’ with me, Slingshot and Autism Speaks.”
Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. The organization does this through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions. Every April, Autism Speaks celebrates World Autism Month, beginning with United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, encouraging others to “Light It Up Blue.”