Meyers Leonard, now a center for the NBA Portland Trail Blazers, was at practice on game day when his older brother Bailey, a US Marine returning from overseas deployment in Afghanistan, showed up to surprise him. The cameras were rolling as the close-knit siblings had an emotional reunion. Leonard recently tweeted the footage which was shot when he was still a member of the University of Illinois basketball team.
Both Leonard brothers had to overcome a very difficult childhood to make their way in the world as The Oregonian explained:
“[Meyers’] father, James, died in a freak bicycle accident when Leonard was 6 and his mother Tracie has been unable to work for years because of chronic, debilitating back pain. To help support the tight-knit family, Leonard’s older brother, Bailey, enlisted in the military and served two war tours in Afghanistan.”
“Along the way, the Leonards slept on floors, scrounged for food and persevered through the most trying of times. They always had each other. Until Bailey left for Afghanistan, that is.”
Meyers Leonard played two seasons for the University of Illinois and was selected by Portland as the 11th overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft.
At the time of the heartfelt reunion with his brother Bailey with whom he was formerly inseparable, Meyers Leonard tweeted the following: “A moment I will never forget. By far the best surprise I’ve ever had. Hard to watch it without tearing up. #Blessed.”
Watch the moving video of the reunion between Meyers Leonard and Bailey Leonard: