Obit of the Day: Leader of the ‘Pack
Bobby Thompson. Christian Laettner. Dwight Clark. One home run. One shot. One catch.
Add Lorenzo Charles to this lost of athletes who had one moment that will forever be replayed for decades to come. Charles played for N.C. State. In 1983 they became another team fitted with the Cinderella slipper. Playing the highly rated Houston Cougars, known as Phi Slamma Jamma, and featuring two future Hall of Famers Hakeem (then Akeem) Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler, were set to dominate the unheralded Wolfpack. They didn’t.
Lorenzo Charles went down in history as he went up to grab a pass thrown by teammate Dereck Whittenburg scoring the winning points at the buzzer. The aftermath may be even more famous than the moment, captured above, as N.C. State coach Jim Valavano races around the court looking for one of his players to hug. (Valvano went onto become known for his “Don’t Ever Give Up” speech at the ESPY Awards in 1993, while suffering from brain cancer which claimed his life.)
After graduating from N.C. State in 1985, Charles was drafted in the first round by the Atlanta Hawks. He played one season. You can find his college and NBA stats here.
When he died Charles was a bus driver who, coincidentally enough, would drive some of Duke University’s sports teams. (Huge rival of N.C. State.) He died when his bus crashed into a tree. He was only 47.
He had his moment and at least he will always be remembered for it.
(Image copyright NCAA courtesy of news-record.com)