I kept my feet on the peddle steadily as I entered the interstate, rushing to work and I hoped, with nearly 20 minutes to spare before the office meeting starts, to not get delayed on this often treacherous and chronically under-construction highway again. Then I saw what I always dread: the electronic board announcing delays ahead. It is a routine – I always curse then immediately follow it with regret for my cussing because I know someone usually gets hurt or, sometimes, dies in these accidents. Knowing that it will take me at least another good half an hour to reach work, I called my friend and colleague to tell him that I’ll be late since I’m sitting at a parking lot on the highway so he’ll pass it on during the meeting.
After nearly thirty minute sitting in my car I reach the site of the accident with a combination of selfish relief that I’ll finally pass this jam and the realization of seeing the result of the accident: a turned over commercial bus. I see there are no people bleeding sitting by the road or any corpse or body parts scattered around, which means it is not serious. Like the 21st century voyeur we’ve all become, I pull out my cellphone and snap couple of pictures; for what reason, I don’t know. I give no second thought to the actual accident as the site is no longer a human tragedy to me my hurried mind but just an “interesting” sight on my way to work. But here lies the body of Lorenzo Charles, the man behind the greatest bucket of college basketball. But at the time I didn’t who was the victim of tragic accident; only did I find out later when I got to work while browsing through Google News as I usually do when I settle down at work. As an alumni of the school that he led to the NCAA Basketball Tournament Championship in 1983 with his heroic grab of the ball in midair with 2 seconds left in the game with NC State down by 1 point and dunking it to seal the championship for the heavily underdog NC State Wolfpack against a Houston team that posted future NBA champions and hall of famers like Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. Around campus, Charles was a legend and his spectacular, last-second dunk poster plastered all over the walls in countless buildings and fraternity houses.
It is a sad day for the Wolfpack Nation. RIP Lorenzo!