Leah Still had a courtside seat to watch LeBron James put up 34 points, 10 rebounds in a Cavaliers’ win over the Wizards.
WASHINGTON (AP) — LeBron James had a special fan in Washington on Wednesday night watching the Cleveland Cavaliers’ victory over the Wizards.
Five-year-old Leah Still, whose battle with cancer won her the 2015 ESPY Award for perseverance, attended the game wearing James’s No. 23 jersey.
After scoring 34 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in Cleveland’s 121–115 victory over Washington, James said Still’s presence “absolutely” provided some extra motivation.
“Her and Zhuri, my baby girl, are my two favorite women in the world,” James said. “I know my mom and my wife will be a little bit jealous, but they’ve got to take a back seat to those two.”
James and Still, the daughter of NFL defensive end Devon Still, have had an ongoing friendship since the pair first met last season at another game.
Earlier Monday, Devon Still signed a contract with the Houston Texans for next season after he was cut by Cincinnati last September. The Bengals had kept him on in 2014 in part so he’d have health insurance to cover her treatments.
“That’s all blessings from the man above,” James said.
Scans this summer found no trace of cancer, but Leah has been undergoing treatment to help rebuild and immune system that was destroyed by chemotherapy.
When James presented her ESPY, Devon accepted with Leah not yet strong enough to attend. But as she nears the end of her treatments, she was able to enjoy the game courtside.
James said thinking of his own children made Devon Stills’s story hit home.
“To be able to keep that strength and keep his composure, when his daughter was going through what she was going through, just resonated, man,” James said. “And from that point on, we became good friends. ... (She’s) like a little sister of mine.”