A huge LeBron James fan has shown the power of sport as he burst into tears when he finally got to see his hero in the flesh.
Liam Burgin, 13, is a huge basketball fan and spends his time analyzing the game and its players’ backgrounds.
Liam was so inspired by LeBron’s story, overcoming many obstacles to eventually lead his underdog hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, to a national championship that he quickly became his favorite player.
But despite following the sport avidly, Liam had never been able to see his idol in person.
So, mom Keele, 50, from Denver, Colorado, jumped at the chance to bag tickets at the Pepsi Center in Denver, where Liam’s local side Denver Nuggets were set to play LeBron’s new team the LA Lakers.
Keele captured the amazing moment her son first caught a glimpse of LeBron running out onto the court on video.
As his idol appears down below, Liam exclaims: “Mom, that’s LeBron James. Mom, seriously, that’s LeBron in person, like he’s really real.”
And as a mesmerized Liam watches LeBron James warm up, mom Keele asks her son, “How do you feel right now?”, Liam wipes away the happy tears with his sleeve and replies, “I’m just so happy.”
But despite that controlled response, Liam eventually let his true emotions get the better of him, as he began hysterically trying to say, “That’s LeBron,” but could barely form a sentence through the tears.
His mother said that she had initially worried because their tickets were in the upper section of the arena, but as soon as she saw her son pointing to his sporting hero, all of those worries went away.
She said: “All my boys love basketball and when I heard LeBron was going to be in town it was a no brainer, even in the bleeder seats.
“To be honest, when we first sat down I was worried because we were close to the back row in the arena and the court looked so far away.
“Then the players came on the field and Liam saw LeBron James and he kept saying ‘Mom, that’s LeBron. Mom, seriously, that’s LeBron in person, like he’s really real.’ I didn’t think about the seats again.”
Basketball mad Liam and his twin brother Greyson were born prematurely, and conditions related to their birth led to Liam being forced to give up youth basketball at a young age.
But after studying LeBron’s life story, he slowly fell back in love with the game and is now playing again – with the culmination of his journey being to see his hero in the flesh.
Liam said: “I’ve watched LeBron James for so long that it felt like he was just a part of TV – but when I saw him in real life, it gave me a sort of hope.
“I quit basketball for many years up until 7th grade.
“I started to fall in love with the sport and study about all the players as much as I could.
“The reason that Lebron James stood out to me was that he had so many setbacks in his life but he never gave up no matter what it was.
“He was one of the reasons I got back into basketball and work on it almost every day.
“Whether it was being the underdog against the Warriors and coming out on top, or how good a father he is, it was his personality that drew me towards him, maybe even more than his play.
“Because of him I joined a basketball team and give it my all every time down the court.”
Mom Keele added: “Liam is an amazingly soulful kid who has been through a lot in his thirteen short years.
“He and his twin were born premature and he literally fought for his life.
“He struggled with his fight or flight responses until he was about seven, which was unbelievable difficult from every angle.
“I believe in experiences over things.
“I am trying to create a culture in my family where it is about the time we spend together rather than the things we have.
“All my boys love basketball and when I heard LeBron was going to be in town it was a no-brainer, even in the bleeder seats.
“It doesn’t matter how much money you spend on your kiddos, it is the time and the quality of it that they will remember and cherish.”
Story courtesy of T&T Creative Media.