Lorenzo Emile Charles, the hero of the 1983 NCAA championship game, died yesterday in a bus crash in North Carolina. Charles, who caught and dunked a last-second shot from his NC State Wolfpack teammate to win the title over heavily favored opponents, was alone and driving a charter bus when he apparently lost control and crashed into trees off an exit ramp. Police were still trying to determine the cause of the crash last night, the News & Observer reports.
Charles, 47, played briefly with the Atlanta Hawks and pro teams in Europe after leaving NC State. At the time of his death he was a driver for Elite Tours, and also drove for the Duke lacrosse team. He had recently visited the new NC State basketball coach. "He had a big smile on his face, and he was so full of life," the coach says. "We lost a great one, and I'm not just talking about the basketball player. He had a great personality."