This past Saturday, Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire invited a special guest, 9 year-old Blake Appleton, to his team’s game vs. Detroit. Appleton, a student at Polk Avenue Elementary where Amar’e went to school in Lake Wales, Florida, has been battling terminal brain cancer for four years. He was diagnosed January 1, 2008 and in November 2011 he decided to stop treatment, so he could live his life as pain free and without sickness for as long as possible. Blake always wanted to see New York City, and members of the Lake Wales Community got together to pay for the family to travel and for his wish to be granted. As a surprise for Blake, Amar’e hosted him courtside at MSG and gave him gifts from the Knicks, Steiner Sports and Scholastic Books.

Above are a few pictures of Blake and Amar’e, along with Blake’s sister Morgan, his mother Miranda and Jenny Gilbert, a teacher who escorted the family on the trip. “It was great to meet Blake and his family during their trip to New York,” Stoudemire said after the game. “We had a fun time sharing stories about our hometown Lake Wales, Florida. I am inspired by Blake and I am honored to call him a friend.”

However brief the moment was, this is another reminder that there’s a lot more to life than just two hoops and a basketball. We salute you, Amar’e.

Photos courtesy of Avi Gerver/MSG Photos