(continued from the previous post)
Except, of course, no one else thought to do it.
Everybody else did precisely what most of us would do in such a situation - study the ceiling, develop a sudden interest in our shoes, shift from side to side, paralyzed, frozen to the spot, embarrassed for the little girl, empathizing furiously, wishing desperately it would all end: "Please, let her remember the words. Please. Somebody do something.''
Maurice Cheeks, himself a father, did what all fathers, and grandfathers, too, in moments of heroic reverie, dream they would do. He tried to make the world go away.
Seeing as how his team was one loss away from elimination, he might have been expected to have other things on his mind than a junior high school girl who had won a contest to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" before tip-off of the most crucial game of the year.
And yet, there he was, not sure how exactly, walking to center court. And once there, this thought stabbed him:
"I wasn't sure whether I knew the words myself," he said, laughing.
"I just didn't want her to be out there all alone."
Bravo, sir. And bravo to young Ms. Gilbert, who endured an experience most people have nightmares abouts and -- with an assist by her coach -- triumphed.