September 11, 2001.
A day America will never forget.
It’s also a day that has greatly impacted the Leonard Family.
When former Trail Blazers big man Meyers Leonard was just six years old, his dad passed away. The date was September 11. Bailey Leonard, just 22 months older than Meyers, became a father figure in his life.
The two brothers were inseparable. Then on day on September 11, 2001, the tragic events that took place that day altered Bailey’s path. He joined the United States Marine Corps and in August 2008, Bailey left for boot camp.
In what has become a viral video since its release, it's hard not to grab some tissues and be ready for a wholesome cry, no matter how many times you've seen it.
“My brother joined the [United States Marine Corps] because of 9/11. When he left for the first time, I remember feeling scared & lost because he was like a father figure to me. Our father’s birthday was 9/11. He passed when I was 6. This day is never easy. God Bless America."
These videos of men and women returning home to surprise their loved ones are simply beautiful.
Fast forward to present day. Bailey has served two tours in Afghanistan and Meyers is living his dream in the NBA (now with the Miami Heat and in the Eastern Conference Finals).
It has been 19 years since that day on September 11, 2001.
On Friday, the NBA on TNT crew interviewed Meyers from the NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida and had another amazing surprise in store.
Grab some more tissues.
“Surprise again little brother. I’m here,” said Bailey from their hometown of Robinson, Illinois.
You can see the love and compassion the two brothers have for one another.
“My little brother, I’ll tell you what, he may be eight inches taller than me, bigger than me, but I respect my younger brother more than almost anybody else who walks on this planet. I really do. For the things he does off the court for one, carrying himself in the highest regard and not wanting anything extra for the actions he takes. Just for being a good person.
“He has no malicious intent towards anybody no matter their color, creed, religion,” said Bailey of Meyers.
Watch the full video below.
[Listen to the latest Talkin' Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and special guest former Trail Blazers center Mychal Thompson].