Lorenzo Charles, Who Hit NCAA-Winning Shot In 1983, Dies In Bus Crash
Glenn Davis 09:22 am, June 28th, 2011
North Carolina State's win over Houston in the 1983 NCAA championship game is an iconic moment - the underdog Wolfpack appearing to miss a last-second desperation shot, but forward Lorenzo Charles grabbing the miss right under the basket and dunking it home for the unlikely win, coach Jim Valvano running around, apparently looking for someone to hug.
Sadly, Charles, the man who made the moment possible, died yesterday while driving a bus, at the age of only 47. There were no passengers on the bus at the time. Charles' former N.C. State teammate Dereck Whittenburg was distraught as he talked about Charles with Andy Katz of ESPN:
"It's a terrible day for the '83 team, a terrible day. He's just a positive, a warm spirit. On the court, he never smiled. He was a competitor. He was tough and all that. Off the court. He was a gentle giant. Man, he came with that bubbly smile."
Charles, for his part, never quite seemed to believe just how big a place his play had in college basketball history.
"It's still kind of amazing to me that ... people are still talking about it. I remember when (it) first happened, I figured I would have my 15 minutes of fame and that would be it.
Admirably modest, but we'll be seeing that play for a long time. And hearing what a good guy Charles was from those who knew him makes it all the sadder that the guy who made that play is gone so young. RIP.
And it seems like the only fitting way to end this is with footage of one of Chsrles' title-winner, one of basketball's most famous dunks. Via Quickish, here it is:
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