Five views of Maurice Cheeks' act of kindness

BY DARNELL MAYBERRY, Staff Writer, dmayberry@opubco.com Modified: April 13, 2010 at 4:11 pm •  Published: November 1, 2009
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Then-Dallas assistant coach Del Harris:

"When that girl was out there on an island all by herself and couldn't come up with the words, I think everybody in the building was pulling for her but Mo was the one who had the wherewithal to come out and put his arm around her and start singing right along with her. I just thought it was one of the classiest acts I had ever seen in the NBA. It was very touching. For a guy in a real pickle with playoff basketball on the line, to be able to think of somebody else like that just represented the best that there is in human beings."


Then-Blazers PG Damon Stoudamire

"I just remember the little girl forgetting the words and there was a pause. Cheeks went over there and put his arms around the little girl and she was tearing up. Shoot. Everybody was singing along to help her out. It was a nice gesture. We were signing in the line. You're listening to the National Anthem with your eyes closed and then it paused. So you look up and you see that she's so young that you feel bad. Sometimes when people mess up, you laugh. But she was so young that you said dang."

Oregonian columnist John Canzano

"I was 10 feet from her. There were probably 30 people within 30 feet of her, including both teams, officials, the media. And nobody moved except for Mo Cheeks. It's like we were all spectating and he had the sense to get involved. It was clear, too, that he wasn't entirely comfortable singing. But he wasn't going to let her sit there and struggle by herself. And when she finished singing, she ran out the tunnel and I put down my stuff on press row and I forgot about the playoff game. She was crying and saying, 'This is awful, this is the worst night of my life, how embarrassing, I blew it.' And I said you have no idea. This is going to be big. It was a really cool moment. It was a playoff game, but it stopped being about the game the minute Cheeks put his arm around her and started singing."

Maurice Cheeks

"It was a TNT game. It was a playoff game. It's boisterous in Portland anyway no matter what game it is. They've got some of the best fans out there. But it was just buzzing, and we were thinking about trying to get us a win. And everybody was focused on the game. And then when she just stopped singing, I think most people just said, 'Oh shoot.' It was a nationally televised game and I was thinking, 'I don't want this to happen to this little girl.' And I'm sure everybody in the arena was thinking that as well. But not everybody in the arena could react. I was the only one who could react. Some other people could have, but I just happened to be the one to do it.

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