Friday night's deadly terrorist attacks in Paris have put France's beloved capital at the forefront of our thoughts and prayers, but also recalled an August incident involving three American travelers and a gunman aboard an Amsterdam train bound for Paris.
U.S. military members Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos and their friend Anthony Sadler subdued Islamist militant Ayoub el Khazzani as he was beginning his planned mass shooting, tackling and tying him up before anyone was killed.
The trio were honored by President Barack Obama at the White House in September, but on Sunday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles, with Paris on everyone's mind, they received a standing ovation from the heartfelt crowd. Sadler, who was wearing a Los Angeles Lakers T-shirt when he helped disarm the gunman, wore the same shirt in his courtside seat Sunday night.
A night at the Staples Center wouldn't have been complete without a pre-game ambassadorial meet-and-greet from Kobe Bryant. During the game against the Detroit Pistons itself, however, Bryant got the three heroes in on the on-court action after hitting a deep 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.
Willing the ball into the hoop with his exaggerated landing, the shot was Bryant's first 3-pointer in four attempts and served as a late-game dagger in the Lakers' eventual 97-85 win. Daps for the three Paris train heroes were definitely in order after that one.
"That was a great moment,” Bryant said to reporters postgame. ”They were encouraging me all game. I figured I’d get one to sit down and make sure I’d dap them up.”
A hero's welcome, indeed.
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