PHILADELPHIA -- Raptors forward Charlie Villanueva jogged on to the Wachovia Center court last night with a huge smile on his face.
Just prior to the game, as Villanueva finished his pre-game warmups, a young boy and his father approached the Raptors' highly-touted rookie. Normally players don't want to be distracted just before game time, but Villanueva made sure to take some time and talk to four-year-old Blake Glass and his father Greg.
Blake suffers from Alopecia Areata, the same skin disease that Villanueva has had since he was 10. The disease results in hair loss on the scalp and body. And so, for 10 minutes or so, Villanueva sat with his young fan, who wore a Raptors jersey with his favorite player's name on it.
"You know, it's a beautiful thing when I can help and I see much of a role model I am to these kids," said Villanueva. "I think everything happens for a reason and I think this happened to me (getting the disease) in order for me to help little kids like Blake."
Greg Glass said he and his son have followed Villanueva's career since his second year at Connecticut and had planned since last summer's NBA draft to travel to Philadelphia from their hometown of Lancaster, Pa. A local Auto Auction house donated four tickets to Glass.