Photo: Leslie lifts wheelchair court stormer
by Scott M Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
On Saturday, C.J. Leslie played hero twice.
The North Carolina State star forward led the Wolfpack to a stunning 84-76 win over then-No. 1 Duke. Then, when the N.C. State faithful stormed the court in celebration, Leslie helped save die-hard fan Will Privette, who was pushed onto the court in his wheelchair with the first wave of fans.
Privette told USA TODAY Sports’ Nicole Auerbach that Leslie saved his life by picking him up while his wheelchair was lost in a sea of people. “He held me for a couple of minutes. I was screaming and yelling,” Privette said.
A touching photo of Leslie picking up Privette recently surfaced and captured Leslie’s role of playing hero that mattered much more than his 25 points and six rebounds.
The image doesn’t just show Leslie saving Privette’s life, it features everything that’s great in college athletics. In a day and age where college basketball players leave early for the NBA draft and become more famous than the president of the university, we see this gem of a photo: Leslie, the star of the basketball team, providing a loyal fan with a memory that will last a lifetime.
Privette became an Internet star after ESPN’s Dick Vitale expressed concern.
But Privette’s first-person video of the court storming is perhaps the best storytelling available on the Internet. He was filming the court storming on his phone before stampeding fans knocked it loose after N.C. State student body president Andy Walsh pushed Privette for “the dumbest thing” he’s done in college.… [For more on Photo emerges of C.J. Leslie lifting up wheelchair court stormer, click here.]