While most Detroit Pistons fans were pretty euphoric when the team traded longtime veteran Tayshaun Prince for a much-needed point guard and some future salary flexibility, not everyone was happy.
Most notably, a video shot around the Internet of a fan at
Conseco Bankers Life Fieldhouse to see the visiting Pistons play the Indiana Pacers. The fan, Cory Brandt, was seated next to the tunnel and when Detroit came out sans Prince, Brandt texted a friend and learned his favorite player in the world had just been traded and wouldn't suit up for the game.
He dejectedly stripped off his Pistons Prince jersey and revealed a Kentucky Wildcats T-shirt underneath. He was truly a Kentucky basketball fan through and through and according to Brandt, Prince was his all-time favorite Wildcat. But one thing about internet celebrity is that it makes others who enjoy your captured misery to want to help out when they can.
So the Memphis Commercial Appeal found Brandt and invited him to enjoy a Grizzlies game on their dime and he was even introduced before the game as "the newest Grizzlies fan." But what Brandt didn't know was that the paper and the team had set up a surprise meeting between fan and his favorite player (H/T to n8dogg606 who alerted us to the story).
The encounter is captured in the Commercial Appeal article. Prince related to Brandt's plight:
"I know what you felt at the time, and I was going through it," Prince told Brandt, presenting him with an autographed No. 21 Prince Griz jersey. "Things happen for a reason, that's why you're here today and why I'm here today. You touched a lot of people in my family and I just want to say thanks for what you did."
Why such an affinity for Prince?
"It's not just for the way he plays; he's always calm and cool," Brandt said. "It's also because he's a great role model. He stayed at Kentucky for all four years. Even when things didn't go well for him in Detroit the last couple of years, he never aired his differences publicly."
Might not be 100 percent accurate (cough, buffoonery, cough) but I can understand why he's a huge Pistons fan and I'm glad to see that he got a chance to meet his basketball idol.