The finality hit Kevin Ware last week as he sat in his dorm room and realized it was time to pack, time to go home, time to move on. He was surrounded by relics from his time at the University of Louisville. There were all of his Cardinals basketball jerseys. There was one of the nets from the 2013 national championship game. There was a drawing that depicted Ware lying on the court during the regional final against Duke, his right leg split in two from the horrifying fall we all remember. He was looking up at his teammates, clenching their hands as if he did not want to let go. "There are too many memories here for me to forget about this place," Ware said softly. "Leaving here is one of the toughest things I've had to do in my life." The junior guard returned home to Atlanta on Sunday. He is transferring to Georgia State, and he remains hopeful the NCAA will grant him a waiver to play next season. He leaves behind a complicated legacy at U of L. His grisly injury was the defining moment of that NCAA Tournament, but it might also be the defining moment of Ware's life. He had, in essence, become a global celebrity for getting hurt. He was invited to the White House Correspondents' Dinner, where he met President Obama. He befriended celebrities such as Kobe Bryant. He gained more than 100,000 Twitter followers. Initially it was flattering. But then it became suffocating. On campus, Ware sought out hidden routes to classes and the gym so he could avoid inevitable questions about the leg, and pictures with the leg, and everything about the leg. "I stayed in my room as much as I could, honestly," he said. "If I didn't have to leave the house or be somewhere, I'd just stay in and watch Netflix. Everybody always asking, everybody wanting to have conversations about it. Like, why can't we just have a conversation about basketball?" Ware's injury was expected to sideline him for 6-12 months. On Nov. 6 he made a surprising and emotional return in an exhibition game against Pikeville, swishing a 3-pointer on his first shot. But then things began to unravel.
Kevin Ware moving on, not forgetting
Louisville Courier-Journal | May 2