Senior Night is always a special experience for athletes, but Oakland Golden Grizzlies guard Max Hooper had even more emotions pumping through him with his father at the game.
According to Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press, Chip Hooper—who has had cancer for four years—gave Max a buzz around midnight Friday to share some news. Late-night calls don't always result in good news, but there was something the father wanted to tell his son.
He was going to be at Athletics Center O'rena for Senior Night.
Chip had a stroke in October and had not been able to make it to a game this season. No matter his condition, he wasn't going to miss his son's final home game—and he made the trip from Carmel, California, to Rochester, Michigan, for Friday's game.
After the final buzzer sounded and he shook hands with Detroit players, Max went into the stands and gave his dad—in a hospital bed on the concourse—a hug. The senior guard said having his father in attendance gave him a little extra juice for the game.
"To see him come all the way from California here, just to see me?" Max said, per Snyder. "Not that I needed any added motivation, but that definitely was."
Max, however, wasn't the only Oakland player to visit Chip after the game:
Hooper scored 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting from distance and grabbed three rebounds in the Golden Grizzlies' 108-97 victory. Oakland clinched the No. 2 seed in the Horizon League tournament with the win.
Oakland University basketball head coach Greg Kampe has announced that, a week after making the trip to witness his son's victory, the elder Hooper passed away Saturday.
All grizz fans. Chip Hooper, Max's father lost his battle with Cancer tonight. Please put the Hooper family in your payers.— Greg Kampe (@KampeOU) March 6, 2016
Chip Hooper was as loving and down to earth father of any player I've ever had. He will be missed, I lost a friend, and Oakland lost a fan— Greg Kampe (@KampeOU) March 6, 2016
According to the Detroit Free Press' Kirkland Crawford, Kampe added in a statement:
"This is a very sad day for the Oakland Basketball family. Max is traveling to California to spend a day with his family. We ask that you offer your prayers to his family. Please wait to reach out to him."
[Detroit Free Press, Vine, Twitter]