Remembering Lorenzo Charles

Updated: June 28, 2011, 10:26 AM ET
By Dick Vitale |

When you think of the most magical moments in the history of college basketball, the dunk by Lorenzo Charles of North Carolina State in the 1983 national championship game was as dramatic as it gets.

[+] EnlargeLorenzo Charles
AP Photo/FileWolfpack hero Lorenzo Charles' buzzer-beating putback dunk shocked Houston's Phi Slama Jama in 1983 and gave NC State its second national title.

That moment has been played over and over again for years. It sent Jimmy Valvano into euphoria as he looked for someone to hug as his Wolfpack stunned Phi Slama Jama in Albuquerque, N.M. It is a moment basketball fans will always remember. It was the perfect David vs. Goliath scenario.

Charles lost his life in a tragic bus crash in North Carolina on Monday. It was so sad to hear of his death.

What I will always remember about Lorenzo Charles was his warm, affectionate smile. I knew that, when I saw him before calling his games, I would get a playful bear hug.

That moment in 1983 was special because NC State was such a huge underdog entering the ACC tournament. The Wolfpack had to beat the likes of North Carolina with Michael "the Magnificent" Jordan and Virginia with Ralph Sampson just to make it to the Big Dance. That was amazing in its own right.

Then, in the NCAA tournament, NC State could have lost in the first round, but it survived and advanced in double overtime against Pepperdine. The magical run had begun.

My sympathy goes out to Charles' family and friends and all Wolfpack and basketball fans mourning his tragic loss. Lorenzo, rest in peace.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to