Welcome to “The Big Three-Oh!” I’m turning 30 at the end of July and to celebrate, I am counting down my best/favorite sports moments in my lifetime. If you missed the kickoff post, check it out for the background for the series. We come back to my alma mater but this time, it’s the basketball team’s time to shine.
#6 — Lehigh Men’s Basketball 2010 Patriot League Championship
The first of two Patriot League titles for CJ McCollum and the Mountain Hawks of Lehigh during my time at the school. The 2010 Patriot League Championship was my first taste of Lehigh national success in the college sports realm. We had the victory over Lafayette in the football game that fall, but the basketball championship victory felt almost perfect.
CJ McCollum quickly made a name for himself during our freshman year, winning both Rookie and Player of the Year awards. The veterans on the squad knew it was their time and showed in this game. Lehigh ultimately pulled out the victory and storming the court was something I had imagined doing for years. It was a dream come true for a non-athlete like myself, and just the beginning for the basketball players of the class of 2013.
College Basketball has always been one of my favorites to follow. March Madness was my first taste into following basketball outside of Micheal Jordan. It started with creating a bracket. That led to being a Duke fan through junior year of high school (the irony is apparent). Being a fan of college basketball to me meant watching every game almost every night and ESPN had the goods, especially when there wasn’t much else to do at Berkshire. Being a college basketball fan is how I got into college football. Well, that and the NCAA Football games (RIP). By the time I got to Lehigh, I was set up to become a superfan of every sport Lehigh offered.
The 2010 title makes it all way up to here because of the spectacle of the day. Driving up to Bethlehem during spring break to sit in the student section in my heavy Lehigh hockey jersey. Fun fact: you can see me in certain parts of highlights because I took the jersey off and I was sticking out with a red Phillies shirt on. I inadvertently chose a picture where you can see me for the Instagram post!
I had attended Lehigh sports events before and I have attended many sports events after that. Outside of the Lafayette football game, attendance was scarce. So much so that there was an op-ed in the Lehigh newspaper about the lack of pride. CJ quickly made himself a force to be reckoned with in the Patriot League and this game told those who hadn’t been watching to pay attention. Lehigh ultimately became a 16 seed and lost to Kansas in the first round of the NCAA tournament, but even the official watch party was a blast to attend. The basketball team finished what the football team started on my road to Lehigh super fandom. And for that, I hold a great amount of value for that moment.
Today’s Instagram Athlete
Dr. J. Julius Erving comes in as #6. I had a debate between him and Ryan Howard. I had already used Howard for a moment itself so I decided to give Dr. J the time to shine. I obviously never saw Erving play, but he’s been an ambassador to the Sixers to tremendous success. Every time Dr. J pops up at a Sixers game, the Wells Fargo Center erupts in thunderous applause.Follow @geordo9