Tag:Lorenzo Charles
Posted on: June 27, 2011 9:35 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2011 10:01 pm

Thurl Bailey on former teammate Lorenzo Charles

By Jeff Goodman

Thurl Bailey was shocked when he heard the news earlier today that former N.C. State teammate Lorenzo Charles had died. 

``It’s devastating,” Bailey said from his home in Salt Lake City, hours after hearing the news from another ex-teammate, Cozell McQueen. ``It’s really like losing a member of my family, a brother. It’s just way too soon.”

Bailey was on the Wolfpack national championship team back in 1983, the one that needed Lorenzo Charles’ memorable game-winning dunk to knock off Houston’s Phi Slamma Jamma.

``Everyone talks about (Jim) Valvano running around, but Lorenzo was really the face of the culmination of what we did,” Bailey said.

Bailey said that, after hearing the news of Charles’ bus accident in Raleigh, the members of that 1983 team began reaching out to one another.

``That’s the first thing we did,” said Bailey, an analyst for the Utah Jazz who also does corporate motivational speaking. ``Call that circle of brothers, that fraternity.”

Bailey said that there was a sharp contrast between Charles on and off the court.

``He was that funny, loveable, huggable Teddy bear,” said Bailey, who was taken seventh overall in the 1983 Draft and played a dozen years in the NBA. ``But you looked at him, with that body, and he looked like he could crush you with one hand.”

``He was so tough on the court, so competitive,” added Bailey. ``He was able to really command respect.”

What Bailey remembered most about Charles, though, was the smile, the giggle each time he’d laugh.

``He was always a guy who would break the ice when we were tight as a team,” he said. ``He’d always have something funny to say.” 

Posted on: June 27, 2011 8:17 pm

Former N.C. State star Charles dies in bus crash

By Matt Norlander

He was why "they won it! ... On the dunk!"

Former North Carolina State star Lorenzo Charles was on the receiving end of Dereck Whittenburg's desperation heave at the end of the 1983 national title game. His deft dunk put the Wolfpack over the top of favored Houston, giving Jim Valvano and N.C. State the unexpected national championship.

Monday afternoon, Charles, 47, was killed in a bus accident in Raleigh, N.C. Charles was the driver of the bus, according to the Associated Press. There were no other injuries, as it was a one-vehicle accident.

"Elite Coach general manager Brad Jackson said Monday that Charles was driving a company bus on Interstate 40. Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue says the bus driver was killed and there were no passengers aboard," according to the report.

No other details from local police have emerged.

It's incredibly sad, and unfortunately makes Charles' life story all that much more interesting. He had a cup of coffee in the NBA after getting drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round in 1985. But he ended up finishing his pro career in Europe before retiring from basketball. Since then, what had he been doing with his life? Most recently, driving a bus for a transportation/limo company, clearly.

That detail adds a tinge of curiosity to this tragedy. The full story of Lorenzo Charles has yet to be told.

Here's the video we've all seen so many times, the improbable, unintentional connection between Whittenburg and Charles that capped off arguably the greatest run in NCAA tournament history.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
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