Celtics make New Zealander boy's dream come true
Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics warms up prior to the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at TD Garden on January 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts - by Jared Wickerham
Louis Corbett made a visual "bucket list" of things he wanted to see before his sight deteriorates and the Celtics made part of that dream come true Wednesday with a pre-game meeting with players, courtside seats, a souvenir shopping spree and an on-court ceremony at which Corbett received a standing ovation.
"I just wanted to see what it's like and feel the atmosphere," Corbett said. "It's quite incredible."
Corbett, who suffers from retinitis pigmentosa -- an inherited degenerative eye disease that causes severe vision impairment and can lead to blindness -- saw video highlights of the Celtics 1980s team, starring NBA legend Larry Bird, and has been a supporter since then.
The Celtics, who lost the game 108-88 to Golden State, were touched by Corbett, including guard Rajon Rondo, the lad's favorite player.
"To go through what he's going through and still have a smile on his face is very humbling," said Rondo.
Celtics forward Jeff Green, who underwent heart surgery in 2012, gave his shoes to Corbett.
"It's tough to meet a kid going through what he is going through," Green said. "Despite the game he put a smile on my face with his spirit. He is smiling and enjoying life and he's going through something that is going to be with him for life.
"Even though he's younger than me he inspires me to get better each day. I just wish the best for him and I'll pray for him everyday."
For Green, who already has survived an aortic aneurysm, it puts mundane problems and troubles in perspective to see Corbett.
"We can get down over the little things and then you have a kid who is going to be blind and right now he is enjoying a day at a time," said Green. "Sometimes it puts life in perspective when I'm going through something that is not as big and he is sitting there smiling. I look up to kids like that."
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