Trail Blazers Coach Commits an Amazing Act of Compassion
- Off of AOL News:
(April 28) - Portland Trail Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks may not be able to
carry a tune. But, to one young singer, his is the voice of an angel.
Natalie Gilbert was selected to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at a
nationally televised NBA Western Conference playoff game Friday night. She
took her place alone at midcourt as the crowd that packed Portland's Rose
Garden Arena stood in excitement and anticipation.
The 13-year-old did fine for the first few lines.
Then, somewhere around the "twilight's last gleaming," she forgot the words.
She closed her eyes and shook her head. She appeared to be on the verge of
Desperate, Gilbert turned to look for her father. That's when she saw
Cheeks walking toward her.
The coach put his arm around the girl and began singing with her. He
encouraged the crowd to sing along. Together, they made it all the way
through to "the home of the brave."
"I didn't even know if I knew all the words, but as many times as I've
heard the national anthem, I just went over and continued to sing," Cheeks
told CBS SportsLine. "The words started coming back to me and I just tried
to help her out."
"It helped me a lot. It made me feel more comfortable," Gilbert said in a
CNN interview. "It was just like having a huge choir of 20,000 people
around you just singing a great patriotic song."
"I wish I could help some of the players like that," Cheeks said.
The Portland players needed lots of help in Friday's contest. The Dallas
Mavericks pounded them, 115-103, leaving the Blazers one game away from
being bounced out of the playoffs in the first round.
On Sunday, Portland fought back for a 98-79 victory, ending a 10-game
And the team has invited Natalie Gilbert to sing the national anthem again
Sign this man up! He's a lead!!!!!!!
- Helen Giallombardo
- I watched the tape on one of the morning shows. He's a leader, but
definitely not a lead!
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Sign this man up! He's a lead!!!!!!!
- Helen Giallombardo
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