CLEVELAND, Ohio — A little boy from Cleveland got the best birthday wish he could ask for after getting off an elevator at Quicken Loans Arena Monday.
Emmanuel Velez, who just turned 7, bumped right into LeBron James, his favorite basketball player of all time.
“We got off the elevator, and I totally thought we were lost, because there was no one around,” said Velez’s mom, Delia Reyes. “Then, what are the odds? While walking down the hallway, my son whispers, ‘Mami, that’s LeBron James!”
Emmanuel was at the Cavs vs. Pistons game for Latino Night with classmates from Global Ambassadors Language Academy, a Spanish/Mandarin immersion school. Reyes is raising Emmanuel to be bilingual.
At the game, he was holding a sign that said “Today is my birthday” in Spanish.
Reyes was hesitant to approach “a superstar like LBJ,” but little Emmanuel walked a little faster to catch up and asked, ‘Um, excuse me Mr. James.”
James turned around, Reyes said, and responded: “What’s up little man?”
When Emmanuel told James it was his birthday, the star quickly said yes to taking a photo with him.
“LeBron was the best thing that happened for my son,” said Reyes. “He’s had some rough days at school, but I know this experience will be a memory my son will never forget. I want to thank LeBron for the couple minutes he took to make this happen for my son.
And as an extra treat, he also got a photo with Larry Nance Jr.
“After games, players are tired, and I know how difficult it has to be for them to get the energy to sign autographs and take pictures with fans,” said Reyes. “We forget that they are people, too, and have such big hearts.”