Apparently, there is nothing that N.C. State’s C.J. Leslie can’t do. Not only was he a monster in his team’s 84-76 upset victory over No. 1 Duke yesterday (racking up 25 points in the process), but he also saved the life of a wheelchair-bound fan who stormed the court as the final buzzer sounded.
You can see in this video of the celebration scrum where a guy in a wheelchair is pushed out into the middle of the fracas, only to be swallowed up in a sea of red. Kind of scary when you focus on him and think of the danger of the situation.
USA Today‘s Nicole Auerbach interviewed the fan, Will Privette, about rushing the court (the “dumbest thing” he’s done in college) and about his unlikely savior. You should absolutely read her full article here, but here’s the excerpt about Leslie’s heroics:
Andy and I waited the last 50 seconds of the game on the court in the corner. As the buzzer (went) or probably before, we rushed the court. We went straight to the middle, which probably was better because if we’d have gone to the side we would have gotten hit worse. We got right in the center, and as you can see in the video, I got hit from one side. It was like a wave. It toppled me over. I fell out of my wheelchair. I was on the ground, and I had my phone in my hand — I was trying to film the event — and the phone flew out of my hands and my glasses flew off my face. I was on the ground. I was like, “OK, what am I going to do now?”
C.J. Leslie was in the middle (of the crowd) and he saw me. I knew him from being around campus. He pushed everyone back and told everyone, “Get back, get back.” Once everyone moved and realized what was going on, he picked me up and I’ve described it as like how you’d hold a baby. Once I realized I wasn’t in trouble any more, I started to scream, like “Wooooo! Let’s go!” C.J. held me for a little bit because we lost my wheelchair in the sea of people. He held me for a couple of minutes. I was screaming and yelling.
I patted him on the head and said, “Thank you.” Then he put me in my chair, and the PNC Arena staff escorted me off the court to safety. After the game, I waited around for C.J. to say, “Thank you, thank you for helping — saving my life, really.”
It was the dumbest thing I’ve done in college but it was awesome.
Follow Patrick Cassidy on Twitter
Follow Dime Magazine on Twitter
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook