Originally written on The Last Angry Fan  |  Last updated 10/29/14

Tennessee State was in Chapel Hill to take on No.1 ranked North Carolina this past Tuesday, and a genuinely touching moment took place during coach John Cooper’s pregame speech when redshirt freshman M.J. Rhett was asked to take the floor, only to be surprised by his mother Stephanie, an E-5 sergeant in the Army National Guard, who was on leave from a tour of duty in Iraq.

It was the first time the two had seen each other since Stephanie’s deployment last August.  And while Rhett frequently speaks with the woman he refers to as being “like his best friend” via Skype, but this is the first time mother and son have been face-to-face.  M.J. had no idea his mom would be home to see her son play basketball for TSU for the first time, and needless to say, the whole experience was rather emotional.

From The Dagger…

“When I saw her, I was in disbelief,” the younger Rhett said by phone after the game. “I hadn’t seen her in so long and I hadn’t talked to her in the past three or four days. I didn’t have any clue what was going on and I was getting a little worried how she was doing. But when she popped up in the locker room, I was shocked and relieved.”

“She’s had a huge influence on my life,” Rhett said. “She’s like my best friend. I talk to her almost every day. I can talk to her about anything, girls, basketball, school, anything. No matter what, I can talk to her.”

Even though M.J.’s Tigers were blown out by the more powerful Tar Heels 102-69, the fact that his mother was behind the Tennessee State bench to watch him score two points and grab five rebounds in 17 minutes of play outweighed any disappointment that might have been felt by losing to the top ranked team in the country.

Video of the tender moment follows the jump…

Stephanie Rhett, who took a 10-year leave from the military to raise her son, will be home now for the next two weeks, meaning that M.J. will get to spend a little quality time, and a most assuredly wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, with the woman he cherishes most in the world.  Like all veterans, Stephanie should be lauded and praised for her selflessness for serving in the military, so it was nice to hear that the North Carolina faithful gave her a standing ovation at halftime when she was introduced to the crowd on the Dean Dome video board.

Much like the Veteran’s Day surprise return of Lt. Charlie Jacobs at a Bruins game, these reunion videos never get old, and they put into perspective what really should matter in our lives.  So this Thanksgiving let’s be grateful for the important things in life—family, friends, and those serving in the military who won’t get to spend the holiday with loved ones because of their sense of honor, duty, and sacrifice.

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jim Kelly: There is no doubt Tom Brady cheated

Warriors hang on, edge Rockets in Game 2 thriller

Farrell 'not ruling anything out' as Red Sox's struggles persist

Gretzky: Connor McDavid could be the next Gretzky

Bucs' Clint McDonald: Jameis Winston already leading team


Dana White: Rousey vs. Cyborg would break UFC PPV record

Report: Smith child abuse investigation 'sexual in nature'

DeGale: ‘At the end of the day I’m better’ than Dirrell

Belichick suspected Tom Brady wasn't being honest with him

Johnny Manziel to be a full participant in OTAs

Ex-players sue NFL for conspiring to push painkillers

Ranking the NBA Playoffs' most significant injuries

WATCH: Will Smith ejected for foreign substance on arm

Guy behind NFL's social media trolling of Pats is a Jets fan?

In defense of 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie

Madison Bumgarner homered off of Clayton Kershaw

Would both Towns, Okafor prefer not being the No. 1 pick?

Spoiler Alert Central: Pitfalls in online viewing of live sports

NYPD officer takes photo with 'Eli's brother' at Letterman

Post-combine NBA Draft big board: Top 30

NFL suspends Bills Marcell Dareus for violating substance abuse policy

Astros surprising, but can get better with prospects like Correa

JR Smith prefers taking contested shots to open shots

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jim Kelly: No doubt Tom Brady cheated

Post-combine NBA Draft big board: Top 30

Ex-players sue NFL for conspiring to push painkillers

Astros surprising, but can get better with Correa

Here come the Giants

Aaron Hernandez got new tattoo in prison

TUF weekly recap by NOS® Energy Drink

Ten players who could benefit due to PAT rule change

Five QBs set for breakout campaigns

Report: Lakers will pursue Thibodeau

MLS leaders struggling with attendance

LBS: I was a contestant on Sports Jeopardy!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.