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Here is the ONE story everyone should be talking about

Here is the ONE story everyone should be talking about

February 19, 2009

Every so often, I come across one of those truly amazing stories that makes you feel like everything is going to be okay.

And in a week dominated with headlines about the worst day on Wall Street in 6 years, massive foreclosures, one of the greatest baseball players admitting to using steroids, job losses and a chimp on Xanax going berserk this is one story everyone should be talking about.

And for two basketball teams and the fans who witnessed this event earlier this month - and now you - it's something even one of the coaches said they will remember the rest of their lives.

Hopefully, you do too.

It's the story of Johntel Franklin, a senior high school basketball player and captain of the team in Milwaukee. His mother had battled cancer for five years. It was in remission, or so everyone thought. But on a Saturday morning earlier this month, she began to hemorrhage while Johntel was taking his college ACT exam, according to reports by the Associated Press and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Carlitha Franklin died later that day at just 39.

That night, Franklin's Milwaukee Madison basketball team was scheduled to play a game with DeKalb, Ill. His coach wanted to cancel the game, but he insisted that the team play the game as scheduled without him.

That's why everyone in the gym - even the coaches - were surprised when Franklin walked into the gym during the second quarter. He had come straight from the hospital. By then, everyone knew what happened earlier that day and how his family had to make the decision to take his mother off life support.

His coach called a timeout and his teammates walked over to hug him. So did the fans in the stands. But Franklin didn't come there to just support his teammates. He wanted to play.

There was one problem. Because Franklin wasn't expected to play he was never put on the roster. If he were to play, it would be a technical foul and the opposing team would get two free-throws in what was a very tight game.

The DeKalb coach argued with the officials that they were willing to forgo the two free throws under the circumstances, but the officials said they had to enforce the rule and someone from the team had to take the shots. A short time later, Darius McNeal, a senior captain for DeKalb, volunteered.

Here's how the Associated Press article described what happened next...

He went alone to the free throw line, dribbled the ball a couple of times, and looked at the rim.

His first attempt went about two feet, bouncing a couple of times as it rolled toward the end line. The second barely left his hand.

It didn't take long for the Milwaukee players to figure out what was going on.

They stood and turned toward the DeKalb bench and started applauding the gesture of sportsmanship. Soon, so did everybody in the stands.

"I did it for the guy who lost his mom," McNeal told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "It was the right thing to do."

Milwaukee Madion went on to win the game with Franklin scoring 10 points and the two teams went out for pizza afterwards with two players from each team sharing a pie.

It was the right thing to do.

All the best,

Jon