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Nerlens Takes A Special Guest To Derby


Kelly Melton, a 7 year old diagnosed with leukemia, hasn’t enjoyed favorable odds in his short life thus far. However, Nerlens Noel has given Kelly a glimpse inside the winner’s circle by taking him as his guest to the Kentucky Derby this year. After Kelly gently woke Nerlens up in his hotel room (scroll down a little bit for the photo), the two hit the red carpet together…


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…and, like everyone else at Churchill, worked hard to avoid the puddles: 


Screen Shot 2013-05-04 at 4.37.59 PM

(h/t @ExCats for pictures)


Just plain awesome.



Article written by Kristen Geil

36 Comments for Nerlens Takes A Special Guest To Derby

  1. The Big Bluebowski
    5:50 pm May 4, 2013 Permalink

    Noel is a winner in basketball but a bigger winner in life. Awesome display of kindness. God bless Nerlens and Kelly.

  2. CatStacks
    5:51 pm May 4, 2013 Permalink

    Tremendous heart
    Tremendous talent
    Cant wait to see him in the NBA

    Need more cats like Nerlens

  3. We Need More People Like Nerlens
    5:57 pm May 4, 2013 Permalink

    Hope NBC picks up on this story and gives it a moment for the world to see.

  4. uknbama
    6:00 pm May 4, 2013 Permalink

    Nerlens has a heart the size of Texas. He continually seems to touch each of ours every time. You can tell that he and Kelly have a genuine friendship.

  5. Wow
    6:14 pm May 4, 2013 Permalink

    I would take half a year of Nerlens as a Cat over 4 years of most of the other “stars” out there.

  6. Seriously
    6:26 pm May 4, 2013 Permalink

    I hope this kid gets super rich and never changes. Some community is about to get a special human being and an awesome basketball player! More proud of my Cats than I could ever be. #classy

  7. Seriously
    6:31 pm May 4, 2013 Permalink

    #8 (or WOW if some comments get deleted), I love you. You seem like someone I’d enjoy sharing a beer with.

  8. UKFanMan
    6:40 pm May 4, 2013 Permalink

    I cannot recall a moment where I have ever been more proud of one of our own…now THIS is a TRUE Champion…BBN is very proud of you Nerlens…and congrats to Shug!!! Orb Wins!!! And most importantly, Goldencents LOST…signifying the END of this Louisville/Pricktino “run”…not sure how anyone calls a one year run a “run”, but…that’s been the conventional wisdom…note to self: the “conventional wisdom” is often wrong…and has only become the “conventional wisdom” because it is what the media has decided to promote as such…check

  9. CatFan
    6:47 pm May 4, 2013 Permalink

    That is so AWESOME, I can’t even find the words!!! Made me cry. Nerlens is the best ‘Cat there is!

  10. Mashburnem'
    6:57 pm May 4, 2013 Permalink

    Great work Nerlens… class act, and best wishes and prayers for a full recovery to the little man. Apparently 3 must have had one f’d up childhood.

  11. Syrin
    6:58 pm May 4, 2013 Permalink

    Nerlens is right up there with Patrick Patterson as one of my all time favorite Cats. He doesn’t have to do all this charity work. He’s a genuinely good guy.


  12. Roland
    7:11 pm May 4, 2013 Permalink

    The pic of Kelly on the bed waking up Nerlens in another post makes me cry.

  13. Holler Baller
    7:21 pm May 4, 2013 Permalink

    It’s a shame the way things are he’ll only be here a few more days. Best of luck to you big guy, you deserved a better team.

  14. Spenser
    7:28 pm May 4, 2013 Permalink

    Nerlens will like win some J. Walter Kennedy awards. He is an incredible person and will have a huge impact on whatever community decides to take him in the draft. They will be getting a winner on and off the court.

  15. Oh snap
    7:30 pm May 4, 2013 Permalink

    That’s 2014 recruit Goodluck Okonoboh with Nerlens. Is he on an unofficial visit to UK? Great shot blocker…

  16. Roland
    7:39 pm May 4, 2013 Permalink

    Nerlens not looking for awards. He is Finding “moments”

  17. wildcat t
    7:57 pm May 4, 2013 Permalink

    nerlens is first class and if we were all alittle like him this world would be a better place! 3 I cant believe a grown person would say that. SAD!!!

  18. David Johnson
    8:06 pm May 4, 2013 Permalink

    Whether he was here one year or four, this young man has endeared himself to our Big Blue Nation.

  19. Brian Todd
    8:14 pm May 4, 2013 Permalink

    Not a UK fan, or a Noel the basketball player fan, but this was definitely a class act!!

  20. Roy
    8:27 pm May 4, 2013 Permalink

    He is now my favorite all time wildcat. What a human! That’s all I can say.

  21. Duke Sucks
    10:04 pm May 4, 2013 Permalink

    This kid brakes every stereotype! Just a wonderful kid who deserves the millions coming his way!
    Why is #3 still up. Think if some of this kids family came on here and had to read that. Come on KSR act like Nerlens and show some class and take that off!
    24) I know what your saying! I lost my dad to cancer when I was 12 so this is close to home for me!!! It’s impressive that Nerlens does things like this for this kid. I know people who work at UK hospital and they say this ISN’T for PR. They told me Nerlens came there often without any media or fan fair, he does this because he’s a great kid! God Bless both of them!!!

  22. Here we go now
    10:08 pm May 4, 2013 Permalink

    Nerlens is a difference maker! We could all learn a little from him.

  23. Nerlens is class personified
    10:13 pm May 4, 2013 Permalink

    UK and the state are better for having him, it’s that simple! In a time when most ( including me) are looking for ways to make things better for ME. This kid is looking for ways to make things better for others.
    This kid has terminal cancer so monetary thing aren’t going to help. What Nerlens has done with this kid are beyond priceless!! I hope this can make things better for Kellly. Nothing is worse then a sick kid. Nothing!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Seriously
    11:07 pm May 4, 2013 Permalink

    Every time I look at him lifting that child over the puddle I feel good. I need to get a Nerlens image shaved into the back of my haircut! Lets pull that disgraced Farmer jersey down from the rafters and replace it with a Noel. It would also be nice to see a children’s area in the renovated Rupp dedicated to Kelly, while he can still enjoy it!

  25. Bryan Prather
    11:38 pm May 4, 2013 Permalink

    We can find time to do something to make a difference. Today my daughter and I fed the homeless. We always talked about it but did it finally. I was blessed and humbled. Came home and saw this. Brought to tears..IF WE ALL DO A LITTLE NO ONE HAS TO DO A LOT.

  26. jason applebee
    11:46 am May 5, 2013 Permalink

    I’m going to miss him at UK. One of the most unselfish people we have at UK.

  27. dwight courtney
    11:46 am May 5, 2013 Permalink

    this showes how great a person he is. i wish him well & pray he stays the same wonderful person.

  28. Tonya Meeks
    12:07 pm May 5, 2013 Permalink

    Nerlens is always doing things like this to bring happiness to others! He is using the blessings that God has given him to spread love to the world! God Bless you Nerlens and keep up the great work!

  29. Cora Lea Gaither
    12:24 pm May 5, 2013 Permalink

    God bless Nerlen’s mother who evidently taught him to pay it forward and to know you receive what you give. What a classy young man. Not just athletes, but all of us, need to be selfless and think what we can do to make others lives better. This is something this child remember always. If all the players on the team last year had been like him, we would have lost fewer games. He is one of my new heroes.

  30. Jeannie Madison
    12:57 pm May 5, 2013 Permalink

    Nerlens Noel will always be a TRUE Kentucky Wildcat! He exemplifies what is means to be of high standards and character required of wearing the blue and white! Nerlens, Keep working hard! You have an awesome future ahead of you! A hero for sure!

  31. Bill Ayer
    1:14 pm May 5, 2013 Permalink

    Actions like this make me beyond proud to be a UK fan. No doubt we have stains in our past, but a young man like Nerlens, as well as others we have had recently prove there is still good in college athletics. I wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.

  32. Kay
    2:38 pm May 5, 2013 Permalink

    All I can say with tears streaming down my face, you are a hero Nerlen. I so hope all the wonderful outpouring of love you show, sticks on to so many others in the position to help children, and animals, an those less fortunate than we are. If more Celebes would humble themselves to help others, perhaps it will catch on like wildfire. There are so many people that need their dreams fulfilled, and may never see them come to fruition if it is not for people like you. God bless you. Please give your parent s a hug for me, because they instilled in your heart the fabulous feelings of “paying it forward”. You made her day for sure.

  33. Mr. Kitty McBritches
    5:45 pm May 5, 2013 Permalink

    God bless America, the University of Kentucky, and nowhere else.

  34. Janet Warken
    8:06 pm May 5, 2013 Permalink

    What a role model. So proud he represented the University of Kentucky. We wish him the very best of luck in his future.

  35. Sandy Brewer
    8:31 am May 6, 2013 Permalink

    What a sweet story… May God bless them both….

  36. UKfanKathy
    8:45 am May 6, 2013 Permalink

    Well, the tears have ruined my mascara; but I don’t care. What a guy. A big strong UK athlete helping some of our most helpless – sick children. I am so proud I could burst. He will always have a special place in the hearts of the BBN. What a role model. I am so proud of him. And, yes, his mother brought him up with some values. Never change, Nerlens. You are one of a kind. Good luck in the NBA.