Nerlens Noel brings a friend to the Derby

May, 6, 2013
5/06/13
1:10
PM ET
First things first: For a guy who tore his ACL just three months ago, Nerlens Noel looks great. Walking around, taking photos and watching horses at the Kentucky Derby isn't the same as cutting on your recovering knee in a help-side defensive slide, but still: A torn ACL is still a devastating injury, and from mere walking, if you didn't already know Noel was hurt, you really wouldn't be able to tell.

Coolest thing next: I only had the opportunity to see Noel move around because he was photographed with his friend at the Kentucky Derby. His friend was not a date, nor a fellow basketball player. Instead, Noel bought Kelly Melton, a 7-year-old battling leukemia who splits his time between his house and the University of Kentucky Children's Hospital, where Noel met him.

The Courier Journal (I was rooting for No. 3 too, dude) managed to snag a quick interview with the duo. Noel said it was his first Derby, too, and he invited Melton to come along and experience their first race day together. Really, really cool.

There are a bunch of photographs of Noel and Melton at the race, and this one is probably my favorite -- I'm a sucker for great teamwork -- but this is pretty good, too:
(HT: Le r/CollegeBasketball)

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