Tom Izzo Gives Moving Speech at Vigil for Lacy Holsworth (Video)


It is not uncommon for sports teams to arrange for their athletes to go to hospitals and visit with sick children. It’s a way for teams and athletes to use their fame and fortune to bring joy to people’s lives, and—let’s be honest—it’s damn good PR.

What is uncommon is for athletes to connect with sick children in such a way that they become close friends, and that’s what happened to Michigan State star forward Adreian Payne. He met Lacey Holsworth at a Lansing, Michigan, hospital two years ago. She was just six years old and undergoing treatment for cancer, and the two immediately bonded.

Pretty soon, Lacey wasn’t just some sick kid Payne met one day. She was the Michigan State Spartans’ unofficial mascot. When they beat Iowa State on Senior night, she was there in Payne’s arms after the game. When they won the 2014 Big Ten Tournament, she was there in Payne’s arms, cutting down the net. When the team held its annual banquet, they made a point of paying special tribute to her. And when Michigan State opened up the 2014 NCAA Tournament in New York a few weeks ago, Lacey was there, smiling and cheering as always.

Of course, though you’d never know it from the smile on her face, she was gravely ill. A tumor had wrapped itself around her kidney and spine, and after going through numerous rounds of chemo, there was little left for doctors to do.

Sadly, on Wednesday, her brief life came to an end—but not before inspiring just about everyone she ever met.

For that reason, on Wednesday night, there was a vigil for Lacey at Michigan State. College students dropped what they were doing to go pay their respects to an 8-year-old they’d never even met, and Spartans coach Tom Izzo gave this incredibly moving speech:

“Her parents told me tonight she was smiling when she died. I’m not sure I would be that tough. I’m not sure my players would. And I’m not sure you would. So if you can take something from a bad situation and make it good — when you’re struggling, finals coming up, tough times, something going wrong at home — think how lucky you are to have what you have.” 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got something in my eye.

Hat Tip – [For the Win]


Tags: Adreian Payne, college Basketball, inspirational, Michigan State Spartans, Tom Izzo,