ATLANTA - The Louisville Cardinals are inspired just to be in the Final Four, but Georgia's own Kevin Ware has given the basketball team the extra spark to get the job done -- at least that's what fans are saying.
Ware's face is on T-shirts and giant cutouts around Atlanta as his team prepares to compete in the Final Four this weekend. The sophomore guard from Rockdale County turned into an overnight national celebrity after he shattered his right leg during an NCAA tournament game Sunday. Cardinals fans think Ware's horrific leg break is going to bring the team a victory Saturday night.
"They are going to play for him. They are going to win the championship for him," said fan Dylan Hill.
Ware remained in good spirits Friday night when he sat down exclusively with Channel 2 Action News.
"Our team has so much heart," he told Channel 2's Liz Artz.
"When guys like Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Lil Wayne, Michelle Obama are talking about
you, it makes you feel good, it keeps you in good spirits," Ware said.
Ware was laughing with his teammates in his Buckhead hotel room Friday and told Artz he thought the injury happened as a wake-up call to get his attitude in the right place.
With his leg propped up, Ware took the day Friday to rest. The sophomore player has been through a whirlwind week appearing for TV interviews, talking to radio hosts and appearing with
All this after he suffered a leg break during Sunday's game against Duke. He told Artz Friday he thinks this happened for a reason.
"I kind of feel like earlier in the year, I wasn't playing my best. I had attitude problems, which allowed me to get suspended early in the year, but ever since that suspension I've been trying to have a positive mindset and just play basketball," Ware said.
Ware said his road to recovery looks good. He said his leg should be healed in eight to 12 weeks with rehab to follow.
Ware believes he'll be on the court with his team next year. Ware's positive attitude has been an inspiration through the ordeal. He said he's been surprised to find out exactly who he has inspired.
"(A) 3-year-old girl has cancer right now and they were just telling me how I really motivated her," Ware said.
Ware talked with Artz about this week, and his phone conversation he thinks he had with first lady Michelle Obama, and his plans for Saturday.
The team takes on Wichita State Saturday in the
Final Four, and while he'll sit courtside, Ware said he has no doubt the Cardinals will move on to Monday's championship game.
"As long as we win the national championship I'll be good," Ware said. "I feel like it will be a long night for Wichita State."
Ware told Artz his pain medication made the conversation with
"God is just showing me what it can be. And he's taken me back down to the ground level and wants me to work hard again. When I get back on the court next
season, I'll give it my all," Ware said.
Meanwhile, 'Win for Ware' has quickly become the Cardinals' motto, the fan's logo, and his inspirational, upbeat attitude has been contagious worldwide.
"It feels like they're out there playing for me because if the shoe was on the other foot, it would be the exact same way," he said.