The following is an excerpt from the article titled, Special Olympics Athlete Derek Baker Draws WWE’s Attention With Infectious Personality published by Sports Illustrated.
“I have so much respect for Derek and the way he’s bringing happiness to people through these incredible videos..."
In 2019 Derek Baker watched at home in St. Louis as Becky Lynch made history by winning the first women’s main event at WrestleMania. Lynch carved out a new path of stardom in WWE as “The Man,” and as she celebrated in the ring, Baker also became determined to make his own mark on the world.
Speaking with Sports Illustrated while proudly wearing his “The Man” T-shirt, the 23-year-old Baker’s passion and energy clearly shows that disability is not inability. Along with his two sisters, he started the viral Baker Banter profile on TikTok, launching the page in 2020 on World Down Syndrome Day. Since then the Bakers have built an intensely loyal following with over two million followers.
His effervescent spirit has also resonated throughout the company, as well as within the heart of two-time WWE champion Drew McIntyre.
“I have so much respect for Derek and the way he’s bringing happiness to people through these incredible videos,” says McIntyre, who recently partnered with Special Olympics for an online workout series. “He’s stepped out of his comfort zone to do it. In any walk of life, that is a very difficult thing to do, yet it is quite apparent in these videos that Derek has done it with joy.”