Lorenzo Emile Charles (November 25, 1963 – June 27, 2011) was an American college and professional basketball player. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Charles played basketball for North Carolina State University and scored the game-winning points in the 1983 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament. He played briefly in the National Basketball Association and for several professional teams in Europe. Charles died in a bus accident on June 27, 2011, at age 47.
Charles in 1987 wearing a Irge Desio jersey
|Born||November 25, 1963|
Brooklyn, New York
|Died||June 27, 2011 (aged 47)|
Raleigh, North Carolina
|Listed height||6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)|
|Listed weight||225 lb (102 kg)|
|High school||Brooklyn Tech (Brooklyn, New York)|
|College||NC State (1981–1985)|
|NBA draft||1985 / Round: 2 / Pick: 41st overall|
|Selected by the Atlanta Hawks|
|1988–1989||Quad City Thunder|
|1989||Rapid City Thrillers|
|1993–1994||Oklahoma City Cavalry|
|1999||Peñarol Mar del Plata|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Lorenzo Charles was born in Brooklyn, New York to Panamanian immigrants. He was a 1981 graduate of Brooklyn Technical High School and played college basketball at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. During his sophomore season with the Wolfpack, Charles scored the game-winning alley-oop off an airball shot Dereck Whittenburg in the final seconds of the championship game of the 1983 NCAA Tournament. The basket broke a 52–52 tie at The Pit in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as NC State scored the last eight points to defeat the top-ranked and heavily favored Houston Cougars, led by Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon, Clyde "The Glide" Drexler and the rest of Phi Slama Jama.
Charles blossomed into a star in his next two seasons for the Wolfpack. After packing on another 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of muscle, he averaged 18 points and more than eight rebounds a game in 1983–84, becoming a third-team All-American. As a senior, Charles averaged 18 points a game and grabbed more than six rebounds as NC State finished the regular season tied for first-place with a 9-5 conference record in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Wolfpack advanced to the Elite Eight in the 1985 NCAA Tournament, but fell 69–60 in the West region finals to St. John's University, led by player of the year Chris Mullin. Charles' number 43 was honored by the NC State program in 2008, 25 years after his most-famous dunk.
Charles was the 41st selection in the 1985 NBA Draft at age 21 and went on to have a modest professional career, playing briefly in the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks. He later played with several European teams, particularly in Italy for Arexons Cantù and Irge Desio.
Charles died at the age of 47 in a bus crash on Interstate 40 in Raleigh on June 27, 2011. He was at the controls of an Elite Coach rental bus, without passengers. Charles is interred at Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh.
- Tudor, Caulton (2011-06-28). "'Lo' will be missed". The News & Observer. p. 1C. Archived from the original on 2012-10-02. Retrieved 2011-06-28.
- Martin, Douglas (2011-06-29). "Lorenzo Charles, 47; Dunk Won 1983 Title". New York Times. p. B16. Retrieved 2011-06-29.
- Armstrong, Kevin (July 2, 2011). "Lorenzo Charles, former Wolfpack NCAA hero mourned by entire state of North Carolina, including Duke". New York Daily News. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
- "'83 legend Lorenzo Charles dies in crash". ESPN. ESPN news services. June 28, 2011. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
- "Legabasket" (in Italian). Legabasket. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
- ESPN.com news services (June 27, 2011). "Former North Carolina State Wolfpack star Lorenzo Charles killed in bus accident". Raleigh, North Carolina: ESPN. Associated Press, Andy Katz. Retrieved June 27, 2007.
- "Former Wolfpack basketball standout killed in Raleigh bus wreck". WRAL-TV. June 27, 2011. Retrieved June 27, 2011.