Twitter is famously known for being a haven for anonymous trolls spitting 140 characters of venom at anyone and everyone, but here is one instance where the social media platform gave a deafening voice for an amazing cause. Ebony Nettles-Bey is a 16-year-old girls basketball player for Verona High School in Wisconsin as well as a huge LeBron James fan. Nettles-Bey was an all-conference player for Madison West High School as a sophomore before transferring to Verona for her junior season and even made a verbal commitment to UW-Milwaukee. However the budding basketball star was stricken with stage-four Rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of cancer in the soft tissues of the body. This year despite her debilitating condition as well as the punishing treatments and chemotherapy she has continued to play basketball, her one true passion.
In February the Twitter hashtag #LeBronMeetEbony went viral in an effort to get the young girl to meet her idol. LeBron caught word of it soon after, but because Ebony couldn’t travel and the Heat were busy playing a packed NBA schedule and a meeting was difficult to arrange. Until Saturday night. Not only did the brave girl get to meet LeBron before the Heat took on the Milwaukee Bucks, but she even got to shoot around with the NBA legend during warmups.
Ebony described the life-changing moment,
I couldn’t say anything. I just started crying, tears of joy.”
LeBron talked about meeting Nettles-Bey,
I didn’t need to meet her to understand and know how strong she was. But it’s great to be around her and see her enthusiasm even with what she’s dealing with. It’s like she doesn’t even have it. It’s not going to stop her. That’s a very unique trait. Basketball is a small part of our lives. The way that it can impact someone else’s life, that puts it all in perspective. What she’s going through every single day; the challenges she’s facing every single day with the Stage 4 cancer that she has, she’s the stronger one out of us two. She’s unbelievable, and for me to be someone that her last wish is to meet me, that’s a ‘Wow’ factor.”
LeBron James honored the fearless girl by writing an inspirational message to Ebony on his sneakers before Saturday’s game in Milwaukee.
Thankfully doctors have told Ebony that she’s doing well and that her tumors are shrinking. The courageous young lady has said that she wants to play in the WNBA once she beats her cancer.