One Indianapolis veteran will be celebrating the Fourth of July in some sweet new digs thanks to the kindness and creativity of Colts players Coby Fleener and Pat McAfee.

Erich Orrick is a U.S. Army veteran, a Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient who presides over the charity Wish For Our Heroes. Founded in 2009, Wish For Our Heroes helps veterans in need, and it's provided more than $10 million in donations the past five years.

Orrick runs the organization from his garage, tirelessly making calls and seeking out donations to help veterans make ends meet. McAfee, whose own foundation works closely with veterans, has supported Wish For Our Heroes by donating Colts tickets.

Considering all that Orrick has done for the men and women who served their country, McAfee and Fleener decided it was time someone did something for Orrick. So together they huddled with appliance and furniture retailer hhgregg and arranged for some cool new furnishings.

McAfee and Fleener also devised an elaborate plan to get Orrick away from his home so decorators could remodel it. All told, the project proves as heartwarming as it is appropriate.

For more information about Wish For Our Heroes, you can check out the organization's web page.

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The fight for collegiate athletes' rights took a drastic turn Monday.

Indiana University Vice President and Director of Athletics Fred Glass revealed a 10-point Student-Athlete Bill of Rights for IU student-athletes. The document features the following 10 points:

1. Cost of education
2. Four year scholarship commitment regardless of injury, illness or athletic performance
3. Lifetime degree guarantee
4. Comprehensive academic support
5. Comprehensive health, safety and wellness
6. Comprehensive athletic support
7. Comprehensive leadership and life skills development
8. A culture of trust and respect
9. A collective voice
10. Cutting edge technology

An Indiana Athletics press release Friday said the Bill of Rights is "a first-of-its-kind document."

A statement from IU President Michael A. McRobbie said the following:

"For all of its nearly 200 years, Indiana University has been a higher education leader in teaching, research, academic freedom and international engagement, as well as athletics including producing the first African American to be drafted into pro football and breaking the Big Ten's color barrier in men's basketball. That visionary leadership continues with today's publication of the first ever Student-Athlete Bill of Rights."

Some highlights:

The Lifetime Degree Guarantee program, in conjunction with the "Hoosiers for Life" program, vows IU will pay the undergraduate degree tuition for athletes who leave school early for a family emergency, a professional career or another reason in good standing. The program is offered to "any former student-athlete who was eligible for at least two seasons."

The Four Year Scholarship Commitment. As USC did last week, Indiana is now promising four-year scholarships upon enrolling for athletes in good standing. Injury, illness or a failure to achieve athletic potential will not count an student-athlete's tenure short.

The Collective Voice portion allows student-athletes a chance each semester to meet with the athletic director and will receive the annual athletic director report given to the Board of Trustees. IU student-athletes are also provided permanent representation on the Bloomington Faculty Council and an advisory role on any search for a new head coach or athletics director.

As part of the comprehensive health safety and wellness, IU student-athletes will be provided free physical medical exams at the start of every season. Indiana will also provide free medical service for dental, vision, psychological, rehabilitation and related issues.

In terms of the comprehensive academic support, IU student-athletes will be provided unlimited access to the D. Ames Shuel Academic Center. Student-athletes will also have free access to tutors, mentors, study tables, career development programming, disability support services and other academic benefits.

Comprehensive leadership and life skills development will allow student-athletes to take part the Indiana University Excellence Academy Speaker Series, the Indiana University Excellence Academy Internship Program, specialized social media training and other opportunities.

In terms of cutting-edge technology, all IU student-athletes will be given an iPad and an official IU athletic blazer. Internal internships will also be offered.

From a broad sense, life for Indiana student-athletes is not likely to change tomorrow. However, the text of the document is groundbreaking for NCAA athletics. Indiana student-athletes now have a hard copy of a document to cite if the university ever breaks part of the code. Indiana recruits will not have to worry about the university pulling a fast one on them, stripping scholarships or disrespecting athletes, upon enrollment.

While many universities have adopted written rules pertaining to many of the areas mapped out in the IU Student-Athlete Bill of Rights, Indiana's is now the most precise. It may not be long before another university joins the Big Ten University in scripting a Bill of Rights for student-athletes.

This news comes five months and two days after Kain Colter unveiled the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA) and the idea of student-athletes unionization to the world.

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In January, Isaiah Austin opened up his heart-warming story to the world. In the middle of his sophomore year at Baylor, Austin revealed he had suffered a torn retina while in middle school and has been blind in his right eye ever since. In fact, he wears a prosthetic.

Austin kept his blindness a secret while being heavily recruited out of Grace Preparatory Academy in Arlington, Texas. Austin feared schools would lose faith in him if they knew about his eye. He wanted to appear fully healthy to help his recruitment.

Austin's mother, Lisa Green, summed up the journey.


Austin played on. He averaged 13.0 points and 8.3 rebounds for the season, including 14 points and 5.3 rebounds in three NCAA tournament games. He named to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team.

Austin jumped to the NBA. And then he didn't.

On Saturday night, Austin was informed he has Marfan Syndrome. The genetic disorder is caused by problems with the folding of the protein fibrillin-1. Marfan Syndrome can weaken the aorta, thus damaging the pace of blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

As Austin explains, "Basically the connective tissues in your body are weakened because the cells aren't fully developed."

Austin's EKG test at the NBA draft combine in June suggested he could have a disorder. When the test proved it was Marfan Syndrome, Austin's NBA dreams hit rock bottom.

"It's not deadly when you're living your everyday life, but it can be because my aortic artery has been growing for the past two years," Austin says. "If it gets too englarged, I will have to go under open-heart surgery. Playing basketball was a risk because, if my body exerts too much energy, I can pump too much blood."

One week ago, Isaiah Austin was projected as a late first-round pick. By the weekend, he was out of the draft.

Well, not exactly.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver called Austin's agent Dwon Clifton, earlier in the week. Silver invited Austin to New York City for the draft as the commissioner's personal guest.

"I forgot about the syndrome for a while," Austin says. "I just couldn't stop thinking I'm going to New York, I'm going to New York for the NBA Draft. It's always been my dream to go to New York."

Inviting Austin to the draft would have been enough. After all, Silver has bigger fish to fry, with Donald Sterling's presence still lingering and a wild free agency summer hovering.

But Silver, who has already shown a more tender persona than predecessor David Stern in his first five months as commissioner, did more. In between picks 15 and 16 in the draft, Silver called Austin to the podium. He used the term, "The NBA selects," and the pick came right where Austin was projected. Austin even got a draft hat, donning the logo of the NBA.

Austin got teary-eyed and gave Stern a bear hug with his 7-1 frame (Marfan Syndrome is more common in especially oversized individuals).

For NBA players, coaches and fans, somberness cast upon them, as well. The NBA community also suffers. Before the diagnosis, Austin showed perseverance battling blindness to achieve his basketball goals. After the diagnosis, he has already become a spokesman for the Marfan foundation while remaining as upbeat as possible.

Even in the green room, he could not help himself from smiling.

"Today has been a dream come true. I've met so many people that are supporting me, and they don't even know me on a personal level. It just shows the heart and character that all these people have. Just being around the draftees and seeing all my friends get drafted, it just brings joy I my heart because I know how hard we work to get to this point," Austin says.

It is tough for everyone else. The NBA community and its fans will not get Austin's presence as a player. The loss is bitter.

Austin carries on, as he has always done. In the grand scheme of things, being diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome and losing the ability to play professional basketball are another bump in Austin's general life path. As he has done in the past, he will have to make amends.

"These past couple days have really taught me a lot about myself, he says. "They've really shown me that no matter what obstacle you're thrown in life, there's always a way around it, or there's always a way through it."

Austin will return to Baylor, where he is a finance major. Baylor coach Scott Drew has offered him a job in the coaching department. On top of that, Austin's high school coach, Ray Forsett, and Silver have offered him jobs.

As usual, Austin is looking at the broad picture.

"I'm back to school," he says. "I'm going to take things slow. I'm only 20 years old, and I'm ready to do whatever I can to make my life better."

He may never even play a pickup game again, but this may not be the last the world sees of Isaiah Austin. In New York City on Thursday night, he reminded the world he is more than just a basketball player. Although he got some help from a trip on Silver, he made the most of the break. As Austin always does, he took adversity and turned it on its head.

Austin has coaching aspirations and he will be a voice in raising awareness for Marfan Syndrome. There is no reason to believe Austin will not put his full energy into both endeavors, as he did with basketball for 20 years.

"I don't want to be just an inspiration to people who play basketball," Austin says. "I want to be an inspiration to people all over the world. People have different obstacles they're facing. I want them to know that they can push through anything because I've done it."

This guy thought he was going to be in the NBA less than a week ago. Now, he is already turning the corner on life's next chapter.

Next time you are having a bad day, think of Isaiah Austin. Better yet, think about what he would do if he were you.

Isaiah Austin will never play professional basketball. But his message will have an impact.

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Dwight Howard woke up recently and realized he wanted to play laser tag.

But he didn't want to play alone, so he invited 5.1 million of his closest friends with one simple Twitter message.


Fortunately for Howard, he's got some cash to spare.

The Rockets big man, who earned $21 million in salary last season and is reportedly worth $100 million, picked up the tab for a day of fun and games at Main Event Entertainment outside Houston. According to CSN Houston, several hundred people showed up.




"I woke up and I was like, 'I want to play laser tag but I didn't want to play by myself,'" Howard told CSN Houston. "So I tweeted it out and a lot of people showed up. It was a lot of fun."

Howard was joined by teammate Troy Daniels, the D-League call-up who hit the game-winning shot in Game 3 of the Rockets' first-round playoff series with the Portland Trail Blazers.


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The doctor prescribed Joel Embiid the proper medication and bed rest after his recent foot surgery. Jabari Parker prescribed his fellow NBA draft prospect Oreos and Gatorade.

Parker visited Embiid’s bedside to deliver the care package and check up on his friend. He posted a picture of the visit on Instagram on Sunday night, in which Parker is handing Embiid the treats at the bedside.

“Had to check up on my boy @joelembiid and give him his meds. He's in very good spirits. s/o to@arsnyder1 for taking the photo. #GodspeedJOJO,” Parker said in his Instagram post.

The former Duke star showed sportsmanship and class in this de facto passing of the torch for No. 1 pick in the draft.

With Embiid’s injury, Parker or Kansas' Andrew Wiggins is now projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft by the Cavaliers.

Embiid had two screws implanted Friday to repair his fractured right foot. Dr. Richard Ferkel, who performed the surgery, said, "The surgery went very well and I’m confident that after appropriate healing he will be able to return to NBA Basketball.”

Despite reports of Embiid's draft stock plummeting, some mock drafts still have him going as high as the No. 4 pick to the Orlando Magic.

For now all the former Kansas big man can do is watch the NBA draft unfold Thursday night from the comfort of his bed while munching on his Oreos.

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Rich Salgado put his hand up to a group of photographers. He was surrounded by a motley crew featuring Giants Super Bowl champion tight end Howard Cross; IBF-WBA-IBA light-heavyweight champion 49-year-old Bernard Hopkins, NFL defensive back twins Devin and Jason McCourty and former Jets and Browns coach Eric Mangini.

Salgado felt the picture lacked Hall of Fame Jets running back Curtis Martin, who was chatting with reporters on the red carpet. Salgado stalled the photographers until Martin joined the group.

Such a group could only be put together by the man even his close friends call "Big Daddy." Such an act of unselfishness is common to Big Daddy.

Salgado is the President of Coastal Advisors, LLC, an insurance consulting firm that specializes in high net worth individuals, notably collegiate and professional athletes.

On Sunday and Monday, Salgado hosted the third annual "Big Daddy Golf Classic" at The Oheka Castle in Huntington, N.Y. The 2014 event supported primary beneficiaries The Health & Human Aid Foundation and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The expected attendees list included Michael Strahan, Jason Kidd, Mike Tyson, Eric LeGrand and others.

In its three years of existence, the Big Daddy Celebrity Golf Classic fits its founder's title. It is big. Really big.

"I didn't think it'd get this big, but I knew it would get somewhere," Salgado chuckles at the pun.

Salgado grew up just a few miles from Oheka Castle in New Hyde Park, N.Y. At 6-5 with a healthy dose of muscle, Salgado earned a football scholarship at Maryland in the 1980s. An offensive lineman, Salgado roomed with quarterback Neil O'Donnell in College Park. While Salgado did not pursue a professional career, he followed O'Donnell to Pittsburgh. Aside from fraternizing with the pro bowl quarterback, Salgado built his network.

After studying under a series of prominent sports agents, Salgado bridged his education to a unique idea: creating a private insurance company for athletes and high-profile individuals.

"We make sure they're protected both on and off the field, Salgado told ThePostGame in February 2013. "If they, God forbid, get hurt or there's an untimely death, we make sure their family's all taken care of and there's an insurance package."

Salgado's influence is evident from the diverse crowd at his golf outing. On the red carpet from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday, Salgado could barely move without celebrities asking to pose for pictures with him. He took a picture with Baltimore Ravens' secondary coach Steve Spagnuolo before being engulfed by a bear hug from actor Robert Davi. Justin Tuck, a former local New York Giant-turned Oakland Raider, embraced Salgado next.

"I do it for the people involved, you know, Big Daddy," Martin says. "Knowing Rich, knowing what he stands for, representing an amazing foundation, I'll help out as much as I can."

Those who know Salgado know how much giving back means to him. In 2008, Salgado was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. Salgado had open brain surgery at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Medial Center's Brain Aneurysm Center, which has helped him maintain a normal life today. North Shore-LIJ's Brain Aneurysm Center at Cushing Neuroscience Institute was the primary beneficiary for the inaugural Big Daddy Celebrity Golf Classic in 2012. The center was a beneficiary in 2012, along with the Long Island Children's Museum. The three years of the event have provided support for charities both inside and outside Salgado's Long Island community.

"It's good to give back. If you're able to do it, why shouldn't you?" Salgado says.

As for one of the 2014 beneficiaries, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Salgado had the opportunity to visit the hospital in Memphis, Tenn. a few weeks ago. Multiple guests, including actress Melissa Joan Hart, a client and friend of Salgado, wore St. Jude Children's Research Hospital attire. Salgado, who has admiration for medical treatment centers, is giddy about his relationship with the hospital.

"It's done a 360. It's a great relationship. I've gotten to see and feel what hope is, especially from these kids," Salgado said of some of the children he met at the hospital.

For Big Daddy, whose dozens of NFL clients are almost sure to include a Super Bowl champion every year, the Celebrity Golf Classic is his big day. While managing clients such as Vernon Davis, Osi Umenyiora, Larry Fitzgerald, Arian Foster and Reggie Bush, and appearing as a correspondent for Fox News, Salgado takes time to plan the golf outing. The anxiety leading up to the day nearly gets to him.

"I barely slept, so it's been exciting. It's like a game day for me, where I want to get to the game and get it over with. It's kicked off and now we're ready to go," he said on the red carpet.

Salgado also runs Big Daddy's Shopping Spree at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City, with 10 percent of sales benefiting the Big Daddy Foundation. The Big Daddy Foundation works in conjunction with the Big Daddy Celebrity Golf Classic.

On Monday, Chris Algieri was nine days removed from claiming the WBO light-welterweight boxing title in a split decision on June 14 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Rather than show a champion's hangover, Algieri showed up at Oheka Castle, belt in tow. Salgado and Algieri recently met, and the duo bonded over their Long Island roots.

"I live 15 minutes from here. This is where I grew up," Algieri, a Huntington native, said. "It's a great cause. I'm glad to know Big Daddy and be part of such a great event."

As for the future of his career, Algieri will not be satisfied with his most recent victory. He is looking expand his career both in victories and exposure.

"I'm just looking for the biggest fights I can. The most lucrative fights," Algieri says. "I don't want to be the best. I want to fight the best. I want the opportunity to get in there with the big name guys and get what I think I deserve and see what I can do out there."

While many of the guests arrived Sunday night, the core portion of the event took place Monday. After the red carpet opening, golfing occurred in the afternoon, followed by an evening cocktail party with and a silent and live auction. The night entertainment even included a couple of helicopter landings.

Salgado says he does not put an exact figure on the money he hoped to raise from the event, but he said monetary gains and awareness are his goals when hosting his Celebrity Golf Classics. Big Daddy is always looking for the biggest of results.

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The end of an athlete's playing days is inevitable, but for former MLB outfielder Kenny Lofton, retirement from baseball was just the beginning of his success as owner of a film production company.

Lofton earned a degree in studio production at the University of Arizona while playing minor league baseball for the Houston Astros. He credits his post-MLB success, as owner of FilmPool, Inc., to that education.

"And now I have an opportunity after I'm done playing baseball to basically understand that my college degree lead me to where I am today, right now," Lofton said.

Lofton, who went to Arizona on a basketball scholarship, was Steve Kerr's backup at point guard on the 1988 team that reached the Final Four. He joined the baseball team as a junior, and he stays connected to the college game, including an appearance in Omaha for the College World Series through the Capital One Cup.

"You're not always going to be the top athlete, you're not going to be the top guy that goes to the next level,” Lofton said. “So if you’re not going to that level, at least you have the opportunity to play the sport you love, go to school, and then get an education and try to be that whatever you want to be.”

Lofton is an advisor to the Capital One Cup, which awards $400,000 in athletic scholarships to the winning men and women's athletic programs.

Points are based on men and women’s programs’ top ten finishes in NCAA championships during the fall, winter, and spring seasons. Capital One awards the programs with the most points at the end of the spring athletics season with the Capital One Cup trophy and $200,000 each in athletic scholarships.

"I'm just here to let people understand how it works and I can put my spin on it,” Lofton said of his role with the Capital One Cup. “I played college sports and understanding so is another reason why I know it’s important for me, because I grew up needing help with funds."

The College World Series title is worth 60 points and could decide the 2013-14 winning men's program. In last year’s competition UCLA won the College World Series, which boosted the Bruins to first in the Capital One Cup standings.

If No. 1 seeded Virginia wins the 2014 NCAA baseball title, it would edge Notre Dame 101-98.5 for the 2013-14 Capital One Cup.

The Capital One Cup uses athletic success to encourage student-athletes to reap the educational benefits of their respective schools. But Lofton stresses that education is up to the individual not just the institution.

“The athlete has to want to go out there and go to school,” Lofton said. "It’s up to the individual as well, so you can’t just put it on the school. You have to put it on each individual going to school and going to classes."

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On Sunday at the Prudential Center in Newark, 18,000 people, including 3,500 athletes, gathered to celebrate the opening of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games. The event is the third Special Olympics USA Games, after 2006 in Ames, Iowa, and 2010 in Lincoln, Neb. The 2014 Games will be held in Mercer County, N.J.

Divided by T-shirt colors based on state delegation, the athletes were united as they marched in the Parade of Athletes. The honorary chair of the USA Games, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, made a brief appearance at the star-studded ceremony. The festivities were hosted by actress and model Brooklyn Decker and 2014 NBA Rookie of the Year and Philadelphia 76ers point guard Michael Carter-Williams.


The ceremony featured performances by Jennifer DiNoia of Broadway's "Wicked," performance artist David Garibaldi, the Billy Joel tribute band Mike DelGuidice & Big Shot and LaShell Griffin, winner of Oprah Winfrey's "Pop Star Challenge." Other guests included Rutgers football coach Kyle Flood and "Glee" actress Jane Lynch.

“Their greatness is measured by more than just trophies, medals and pins,” Lynch said.


The state of New Jersey allocated $2 million to the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority to help fund the games. With the help of corporate sponsors, total funding surpassed $10 million. The games run from Monday June 16 to Saturday, June 21. All games and competition are open to the public and free.

A detailed scheduled and more information on the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games can be found at 2014SpecialOlympics.org.

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With the Rangers back in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 20 years, one of the hottest stories in New York has been the insane demand for tickets.

SeatGeek crunched the numbers and determined that it was cheaper for Rangers fans to spring for airfare and hotel to attend games in Los Angeles than buying tickets to Madison Square Garden. Game 3 at the Garden will be the highest-grossing NHL game in StubHub's history, according to ESPN.

Here is a cheaper option that has the added benefit of doing a good deed.

The Henrik Lundqvist Foundation is holding a raffle with a prize that includes two tickets for Wednesday's Game 4 of Rangers-Kings at the Garden. It just takes $10 to get into the mix (tickets are just $2 each with a minimum purchase of 5 tickets).

In addition to the tickets, the winner gets two autographed pieces of memorabilia from Lundqvist: A game-used puck from Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final against Montreal, and a stick that the Rangers goalie used during the playoffs this season.

Sure, the odds are longer with a raffle, but would you rather take your chances on a long shot paying off or entering a market where the prices for Game 4, as of Sunday night, ranged from $895.50 to $32,825 for a single ticket?

The Lundqvist Foundation says its mission is to "create positive change in the lives of children and adults through education, music, sports and human and health services."

The deadline to enter the raffle is 5 p.m. ET Tuesday.

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The sports world knew Lewis Katz as a one-time owner of the NBA's Nets and NHL's Devils. During his tenure, the Nets reached the NBA Finals twice and the Devils won the Stanley Cup. Unprecedented success on the court and on the ice. The media world knew Lewis Katz as the new owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News. While still a college student at Temple, Katz worked as a leg man for Drew Pearson and helped the political columnist break a big investigative story.

We knew Lewis Katz, and his son Drew, as dear friends and supporters of our work.

"When I was starting ThePostGame, Lewis and Drew were the first people I reached out to," said David Katz (no relation), founder of ThePostGame. "They loved sports, loved media, had unparalleled business acumen and the deepest industry relationships. But most importantly, they were the most genuine, highest-caliber people you would ever hope to meet."

Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby were among the notable speakers at Katz's memorable service Wednesday in Philadelphia. As a successful businessman and philanthropist, Katz had a wide circle of famous friends.

But as the Philadelphia Inquirer noted, Katz made a difference in the lives of those he never knew:

"He was known for giving to his beloved Temple, but there are buildings across the Delaware Valley that were built by donations from Mr. Katz -- of which he never said a word. Only on Sunday, after his death, did friends tell stories of how he quietly wrote six-figure checks to build a playground or keep a Boys & Girls club from closing. He once anonymously paid for the funeral of a friend's parent, then refused to admit it or accept thanks."

Before Katz made the commencement speech at Temple last month, former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell sent him some famous quotes to consider using. Katz chose one from legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden:

"You can't live a perfect day unless you do something for someone who will never be able to thank you."

That was a perfect choice for Katz, Rendell said, because "he did hundreds of them."

In 2007, Katz was attending a meeting at The Clinton Foundation when he heard about how Andre Agassi had created a charter school in the poorest neighborhood of the tennis star's hometown, Las Vegas. That prompted Katz to do the same in his hometown, Camden, New Jersey.

"It was just a spontaneous moment," Clinton told the Inquirer on Sunday. "That guy did a lot with his heart."

Perhaps it is the collection of such moments that give real insight into Katz, beyond a resume, a spreadsheet or even a name on a building. David Carr, the media columnist of the New York Times, shared one in his tribute to Katz:

"One of the rituals of reporting tense conflicts in the business world is that sources often say reasonable things on the record and then go off the record to talk all kinds of smack about their opponents. But Mr. Katz only laughed when I tried to get him to take the bait, and wished me luck with my column."

The world lost a legend in Lewis Katz. But it gained a legacy that will be everlasting.

On behalf of ThePostGame, our thoughts and prayers go out to Drew, Melissa and the countless friends and family that Lewis touched. His memory will inspire all of us to live better lives and become better people.

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