For all the times we complain about opposing fans and people in the media having a vendetta against Kentucky, it’s good to stop and appreciate it when they take the time to recognize something good. And this past weekend, ex-Cat (that hurts) Nerlens Noel gave them something good that was just impossible to ignore.
We brought you news Saturday about Noel’s guest to the Kentucky Derby, Kelly, who he met at the Children’s Hospital. The two became friends after Nerlens’ visit, and took a little field trip Saturday to enjoy the ponies. Fans inside the BBN caught on to the story, and now people around the country are catching on, too.
Nerlens Noel attended the Kentucky Derby with Kelly Melton, a seven-year-old battling leukemia. Heartwarming photo: cbsprt.co/NoelDerby
– CBSSports.com (@CBSSports) May 6, 2013
This is just freakin’ awesome about Nerlens Noel. So impressed … Nerlens Noel brings a friend to the Derby espn.go.com/blog/collegeba…
– Jason King (@JasonKingESPN) May 6, 2013
It’s one thing for us to talk about the high character that Nerlens has; we’re Kentucky fans, so people can expect us to hype our own players. But when guys like Jason King, Jeff Borzello, and Eamonn Brennan take time to comment on, or write about how cool it is to see a basketball player invest himself in other people, you know you have a kid with character on your hands.
According to CBS, the gesture moved Nerlens from “you probably like him” to “you have to love him.”
Before reading this, chances are you had no reason not to like Nerlens Noel. He played hard throughout the season, and then suffered a torn ACL in February that ended his stellar freshman campaign.
After reading this, it’s going to be impossible not to like Noel.
And Eamonn Brennan took notice over at ESPN, saying that Nerlens not only looked extremely healthy, but his gesture was the “coolest” thing he’d seen all day.
I only had the opportunity to see Noel move around because he was photographed with his friend at the Kentucky Derby. His friend was not a date, nor a fellow basketball player. Instead, Noel bought Kelly Melton, a 7-year-old battling leukemia who splits his time between his house and the University of Kentucky Children’s Hospital, where Noel met him.
Nerlens has spent his time recovering from surgery in ways that surprise even people from Kentucky, who knew his good heart from just watching the way he played. ACL surgery is a miserable thing to recover from, but that hasn’t stopped him from putting others before himself. He’s healing quickly, and helping others along the way.
He’s more than just doing well; he’s doing good.