I'm not sure what had him crossing my mind recently even before this news. Lorenzo Charles' name often comes up around NCAA Tournament time, but not so much in the offseason. Yet there I was recalling that dunk heard around the world not realizing that a few short days later I would hear of the shocking news.
Former NC State basketball star Lorenzo Charles was killed last Monday when a bus he was driving crashed along the highway. He was 47-years-old.
It was a little sad to find out that someone who was such a huge part of college basketball history was driving a bus as his full-time job. One would have thought that he would have been able to somehow stay in basketball and make a solid living that way. Then again, maybe driving a bus was something he really did want to do. Whatever the case may be, about the only good thing about the story of his passing was that there were no passengers in the bus with him and no other injuries and/or fatalities.
Oh now I remember what it was that had me recollecting that famous shot. It was thinking back on all my fond Popoo memories. It just so happened that we were watching that 1983 NCAA Championship game at Popoo and Grandma's house. I can still remember how shocked (and how uproariously we expressed it) we all were when he converted that short jumper into an alley oop. Everyone except Popoo. He never was a big basketball fan. But he was still there; therefore, the memory forever stays connected with him.
Anyway, it is sad that Charles is no longer with us. I couldn't tell you for the life of me what type of player he was before NC State. I couldn't even tell you how he was prior to that Championship game. What I do know is he provided the single most memorable finale in the history of NCAA Championship basketball. That alone will have him living with us forever.
Rest in peace, Lorenzo.