IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Oftentimes sports fan-bases are brought together through an event, either a come-from-behind-win or a tough loss. On Saturday, the Iowa faithful gathered to remember Chris Street, their basketball star who died in a car accident 25 years ago.
The white shirts bore his number 40 in the stands, on the bench sat his jersey, and his name and legacy were on the mind of Hawkeye fans all over the arena.
“I think it's really special because he had such an impact on a lot of people, and I think being here today really brings the spirit back into Carver like he was 25 years ago,” said fan Riley Sauser.
Spirit, passion, and energy--that's how those who knew him best described him, like his former Indianola High School coach Bert Hanson.
“Fun to be around, hardworking, competitive, unselfish, he'd do anything he could to win the game, shake your hand when it was done and smile and be your best friend, so he was just a great, great kid,” said Hanson.
During half-time there was an emotional tribute to Street, who they called not just a great basketball player, but someone who embodied the spirit of Iowa. A spirit that lives on.
“You really just see Chris everywhere, I mean that's what it's all about. These people, 25 years later, to think he has had so much impact on everyone in the state of Iowa, it's really special, it's really heartwarming to me to see that he's had that much effect on all of our lives,” said Hanson.
The lives of those he played with…
“He threw himself into everything, he went 100% always, he was a fierce competitor and to keep going and going,” said Street’s teammate Troy Skinner.
…and those who never saw him step on the court.
“My dad was a really big fan of him when he was younger, and he talks about him a lot. I think everyone wearing white just really reminds everyone of him and we can celebrate the joy he brought when he played for Iowa,” said Sauser.
A joy, even in a loss, that could be seen in the faces of those in the arena.