Thursday, Dec. 18, 2003

Maurice Cheek's Vocal Assist

Cheeks was an all-star point guard in the NBA before becoming Portland's coach, but his best assist was the one he gave to 13-year-old Natalie Gilbert on April 25. Prior to Game 3 of the Mavericks-Blazers playoff series in Portland, Gilbert began to sing the Star-Spangled Banner before a crowd of nearly 20,000. But then she forgot the words and was left nervously shaking alone, until Cheeks walked over from his team's bench, put his arm around Gilbert and sang the rest of the song with her.