Thanks to the ever-popular Twitter website and its viral followers, LeBron James answered a young cancer victim’s last request to meet her favorite basketball star. The high school basketball player, Ebony Nettles-Bey, is battling Stage 4 Rhabdomyosarcoma (a type of cancer that attacks the soft tissues of the body) cancer and was hoping to meet James since she looked up to him as an inspiration to her own dreams of playing in the WNBA.
Nettles-Bey’s teammates started a Twitter campaign in February to support their friend titled hashtag #LeBronMeetEbony, which quickly went viral. The young girl was invited to watch the Miami Heat play against the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday evening, and was more than elated when she was able to not only watch the game but speak to her idol as well.
When Nettles-Bey and her companions first arrived at the stadium, a Bucks representative told her that they would be provided with dinner. But to her surprise, Nettles-Bey was brought into the Heat’s locker room where she met James and even led his team out onto the floor for the pre-game warm-ups.
The Madison, Wisconsin native was speechless at first and began crying tears of joy at the opportunity to talk to James. The Miami Heat star talked to Nettles-Bey as she took turns shooting baskets with the rest of the team and asked her to show him her jump shot. LeBron James told the young player that she could not walk off the floor until she had made the shot. She finally made one (one out of four) even though there was quite a bit of pressure to shoot with accuracy in front of her role model. And thanks to Twitter, LeBron James was able to answer the cancer victim’s last request to meet him.
James mentioned that Nettles-Bey is full of energy despite her battle with cancer. He said it was wonderful to be around her “to see her enthusiasm and her fight.” James said that her love of the sport is what is keeping her going, and that he wanted to arrange something special for her. He also stated that because of what she has to endure every day, she is the stronger one of “us two.” The NBA player said that for someone’s last wish was to meet him is definitely a ‘Wow’ factor. That is why James wanted to make sure that he did everything in his power to inspire Nettles-Bey and to keep her dream going.
After the warm-ups, James signed a tennis shoe for the high schooler and stood with her during the national anthem. Nettles-Bey said that the experience was unbelievable and stated that James was really laid back and did not act egotistical or “like a super-star.”
Before she became ill, Nettles-Bey committed to play at UW-Milwaukee and has continued to play basketball even through her chemo. She has been averaging 4.3 points per game with the Verona High School basketball team.
The young basketball player and her friends, family, and now the Miami Heat will support Nettles-Bey’s efforts to triumph in her battle against the disease. Thanks to Twitter, LeBron James answered a cancer victim’s last request to meet her hero. This might be just what she needed help her to win the fight.
By Amy Nelson