LAS VEGAS – Fraught with panic, Carsen Edwards thought his life was coming to an end.
His dream of taking the court as an NBA player was about to crumble to the ground – literally – from 16 floors above the Earth.
This is no make-believe horror story. This is real life, amid a horrific moment that the 21-year-old faced on the eve of his professional debut.
A magnitude 7.1 earthquake erupted at 8:19 p.m. Friday night in Ridgecrest, California and shook the Earth’s floor 200 miles away in Las Vegas, all the while rattling the young minds of Summer League hopefuls.
As buildings swayed and decorative pieces tumbled to the ground, Edwards truly believed it was all coming to an end.
“That was the scariest thing of my life,” he said, wide-eyed, Saturday afternoon in Las Vegas after his professional debut. “Like, for real… Not to be dramatic, but I really thought I was going to die.”
Edwards explained that he was in his room on the 16th floor, watching the Pelicans-Knicks Summer League game, when his room began shaking in a severe manner. A lamp in his room tipped over and fell to the floor, and that’s when his mind entered survival mode.
“Right then, I’m thinking about – and I know this sounds deep – but like, ‘How am I going to survive?’” he anxiously recalled.
In the end, there were no reported injuries or damage in Las Vegas. However, that does not minimize the fear that struck the city and these young players. Even Boston’s Summer League coach, Scott Morrison, admitted that he was rattled by the experience as he recalled it from his perspective.
“I was in my room on the 62nd floor and I kinda thought I was going crazy,” Morrison said. “There’s a hotel in Chicago that we stay in that kinda moves back and forth with the wind naturally. At first, I thought it was that. And then I looked up and saw all the lights and stuff shaking. I’m not gonna lie, I was a little bit shook.”
So, too, were family members and friends of the players and coaches. Celtics rookie Grant Williams said that many of his friends and family members reached out to him to see if he was alive and well following the quake.
“Everyone texted me saying, ‘You good? Are you OK?’” he said. “I was like, ‘I didn’t see anything bad happen.’”
Even without the presence of injuries or property damage, the entire experience sent reverberations through their bodies that they hope was only a one-time experience.
“First ever (earthquake),” said Williams, “and I don’t think I ever want to feel one again.”
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