Natalie Gilbert, then 13 years old, began to shake. She hid her face with microphone. She looked around for help, and then covered her face again.
Enter Maurice Cheeks to save the day.
In 2003, Gilbert sung the national anthem before a Trail Blazers playoff game, and early into the song, she forgot the lyrics. That’s embarrassing for anyone, but a 13-year-old is especially ill-prepared to handle such a public mistake.
Famously, Cheeks walked up, put his arm around her and sang the rest of the anthem with her. It’s one of the, if not the, coolest things an NBA coach has ever done.
Cheeks deservedly received national praise for his chivalry, and the moment has become the the defining example of his classiness.
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