The thesis statement is MUCH improved. Congrats!
I'd move the whole Bill Walton quote and reference to another paragraph, though. It seems not quite right here.
What about the rest of the essay? I will move the quote.
Ever since I can remember people have always commented on my height, this made me very uncomfortable and awkward about it around my peers. Others acted as if my height was built on a grand scale like the Washington Monument. I recall a time when my mother got into an argument with a woman at an Easter egg hunt about my age. She stated to my mother that it was a shame that an eight year old child would be placed into a four year old egg hunt. My mother informed her that I was truly only four, just rather tall for my age. It seems my mother has always been trying to justify my age to everyone, really making me feel that I really didn’t belong.
Now entering my senior year of high school, at the age of seventeen I am beginning to realize the advantages of being so tall, and the benefits of it. At 6’8” and still growing, basketball has become a way of life and created many opportunities for me. Many people dream about going to the school of their choice and now this could be a major reality for me. The basketball scholarship offers are coming in from all over the country for me to come and play at their institution. Whoever thought the kid who was so tall and awkward would be given so many choices to attend a school of their dreams, a basketball scholarship for four years to an institution of my choice, “WOW!”
A free education is what so many parents dream about for their children, and with the cost of higher education tuition, so many are trying to get an athletic scholarship to cover the rising price of a college degree. Each year the cost of tuition rises several thousand dollars, causing many students and their families to take out student loans to cover these costs. The height that I had been so self conscious of is now going to be the ticket I need to pay for my education to a school of my choice. Not having to worry about paying a loan when I graduate from college is a major relief to me and my family. Even though many people told me to use my height to my advantage, I never really understood what they meant by this until now, a free education.
The advantages of basketball scholarship offers I needed to receive a free education came because of my height. Whoever thought the awkward looking kid who was always hunched over to avoid really showing my true height would be in my present situation? I have now gained the confidence to stand tall and proud and to embrace my height as an advantage not a disadvantage. Elementary school seems so distant now and as I reflect on what my worries were then, I kind of chuckle about what stressed me out. If I learned anything from all of this, it is to not reflect on negative self-images because of the stress it created and limitations it set on my true ability, but rather reflect on the positive self-image, believing the sky in the limit.