RALEIGH, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — When the 1983 N.C. State men’s basketball championship team reunited in Raleigh last February, the gang was back together.  

But while it was special, it wasn’t like it had been that ages since they had last talked. 

“We are still close today,” said Sidney Lowe, the team’s starting point guard.  “We still talk today. We still text every day.” 

They chat about almost everything going on in their lives but around this time of year, much of the conversation circles back to what they accomplished 40 years ago. 

“We loved being the underdog,” Lowe said. “We were the underdogs all year. No one really talked about us.” 

Instead, most everybody then was all about their ACC rivals Virginia and North Carolina who each boasted future Hall of Famers. But by the time the NCAA championship game rolled around, the Wolfpack, led by the late charismatic head coach Jim Valvano, had outlasted them all.  

“He had great faith in what he did and when you have faith in what you do, the players generally have faith in what you do,” said Valvano’s younger brother Bob, a former coach and now radio host in Louisville.  

After a Final Four win over Georgia, there remained just one mountain left to climb. But it was a big one: Akeem Olajuwon (later Hakeem), Clyde Drexler and the No. 1 seed Phi Slama Jama Houston Cougars. They were the favorites, and their fans went out of their way to let Valvano know it.  

“The Houston fan base stood up as he was walking out of the arena (after the semifinals) and started chanting, ‘Your next! Your next!’” Bob Valvano described. “It sounded like a mob hit.”  

But the sixth-seeded Wolfpack had the perfect game plan.  

As Coach V used to put, “We could always put ourselves in the position to win,” explained Thurl Bailey. “That’s the philosophy we lived off of.” 

Bailey, who enjoyed a 10-season NBA career, was the team’s starting power forward and leading scorer at 16.4 points a game. 

With the game tried at 52 and less than a minute left, the championship was theirs to win. 

“There are times in sports that the unexpected happens, and i worked my whole career to be a part of something like that,” Bailey said.  

If you’re a college basketball fan, you know what happens next.  

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With time running down, N.C. State guard Dereck Whittenburg chucked a deep 3-pointer that drifted off-target. However, forward Lorenzo Charles was there to drive it home as time expired, forever cementing the play as the greatest unintended ally-oop in sports history.  

The game was over. The Wolfpack had won it all.  

“There was just a celebratory unbelievable moment,” said Bailey. “I had my fist up in the air and someone was picking me up.” 

It was an unbelieve ending for an unlikely champion and there was Valvano, running around, desperately looking for someone to hug.  

“That moment really leant to Coach V as a person, as a guy who was kind of fly-by-the-seat of his pants,” Bailey said. “Take chances, (and) take risks.” 

And the risk paid off. It was pure March magic.   

“We cared about each other. We had one common goal and that as to win,” Bailey said. 

Theirs is a bond that can never be broken. A bond that can only be formed from pulling off the impossible.