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Fuller playing for family, father’s memory
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On October 8, 2012 @ 6:59 pm In All,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Jeff Lockridge, USA TODAY Sports
Puzzled and concerned, Vanderbilt point guard Kyle Fuller tried to understand why his father was talking so strangely.
It was the night of May 11. Fuller had been back at his home in California for a little more than a week since school let out.
The Los Angeles Clippers were playing the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA playoffs, which meant Chris Paul — Fuller’s favorite player — was on TV. Fuller was watching with his dad, Kyle Fuller Sr., when their conversation changed tones.
“My dad’s sick,” Fuller said. “And he’s talking about how he wants me to be more like Chris Paul because he wants me to be able to slow the game down. I’m I like, ‘Dad, stop worrying about Chris Paul when you’re over here coughing and you can’t even breathe straight.’
“And then he told me to tell him that I love him. And I said, ‘Daddy, of course I love you.’ And he said, ‘OK. I want you to know that if anything happens to me, you’ll be the man. You’ll step up and be a role model to your brother. Do not make him think that anything is easy, and if he needs to be disciplined, you discipline him. You be the man for your mother.’
“And I told him OK. But I didn’t understand it.”
The next morning, Fuller understood. His younger brother, Khalil, woke him with the news that their dad wouldn’t get up. He wasn’t moving.
Fuller jumped out of bed and rushed to his father’s room. He instructed his brother and mother, Olga, to get out. He tapped on his dad’s chest. He was cold. Stiff. Fuller knew he was gone.
He told his mother to call an ambulance. Then he closed the door and stayed in the room, alone with his dad, until the medics arrived.
“And I know, now, I have to be the man,” Fuller said.
Kyle Fuller Sr. was in his 40s. He had lung cancer even though he was not a smoker. On May 12, the Commodores’ junior posted the news on Twitter: “RIP to my HERO.”
Fuller returned to Vanderbilt this summer for his junior … [For more on Vanderbilt guard playing for family, father's memory, click here.]
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