Martin Bahar is a member of the USC Trojan coaching staff, and while his career is in basketball, his passion is a much more noble cause. Bahar and his family have raised more than $160,000 for cancer research in an effort to honor Bahar’s sister, Maddie, who was taken after a battle with the disease in 2009.
There’s a touching postscript to that tale that happened earlier this week.
Wednesday night would have been Maddie’s 34th birthday. USC also played a game that night against Providence in the First Four, a game that the Trojans won after erasing a 17-point second half deficit. Prior to the game, Bahar sent a text out to everyone on the the telling them that it was Maddie’s birthday.
“I’m just texting you not because I want to win tonight,” Bahar wrote, “but I want you guys to come out and have fun and give it your all. Live life like there’s no tomorrow and you can live with the results.”
The team did exactly that and they got the Bahars their win.
But the touching moment came after the game in the locker room. The team was waiting for Jordan McLaughlin to finish his on-court, post-game interview to really celebrate, the way every team does when they win an NCAA tournament game. When McLaughlin returned, everyone went nuts. Head coach Andy Enfield addressed the team, and that seemed to be the end of it.
“Jordan quieted everyone down,” Bahar said, “and said they wanted to dedicate this win the Maddie on her birthday. Everyone started crying and hugging. Obviously, that started with me crying.”
“It was the most touching moment of my career.”