BOSTON (CBS) – At 7 a.m., from over 9,000 miles away in Auckland, New Zealand, Louis Corbett shakes off the sleep.
With a permanent smile across his face and one of his favorite t-shirts on, Louis gets a kiss from mom and he’s ready to Skype with WBZ-TV’s David Wade about his favorite topic: The Boston Celtics.
Despite being just 12, he knows all about Larry Bird. Louis has been playing the game since he was five, and knows all of the players and all the stats from the NBA.
But he’s never seen an NBA game in person, and his parents want to make sure he does just that before it’s too late.
Louis, like two of his four brothers, has a rare genetic eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, which leaves most patients blind by age 40.
“It’s going that way quickly,” Louis’s father, Tim, said.
In fact, Louis doesn’t expect to have his sight for much longer.
“I just think of it as my eyes slowly going down,” he said, with that big smile still on his face. “But I don’t think of it that much.”
His parents do though. They want Louis to build a library of images in his brain — pictures he’ll always be able to recall.
And when they asked him what he wants to see most?
“I want to see basketball in America,” said Louis.
“He knows all the stats and who’s playing where and what’s going on,” added mother Catherine. “It’s gorgeous to watch.”
With the Boston Garden on the other side of the planet, neighbors started raising money to send Louis to Boston. The story spread on social media and eventually made its way to Corinne Grousbeck, the wife of Celtics’ owner Wyc Grousbeck. Their son, Campbell, is blind and a student at The Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown.
“The Boston Celtics got a hold us and said if you are coming over we’d love to see you, what can we do,” said Catherine.
So the team and other companies are bringing Louis and his father to Boston next week. He’ll watch his favorite team take on the Golden State Warriors, live from a luxury box donated by Bank of America.
“Not very many people my age can go see them. It’s great and I’m really excited about it,” he said.
“I’m hoping the Celtics will win,” added Louis. “It’s my first NBA game so it would be great to see a win.”
It’s not just a game that the Celtics are sending Louis either, as he will also see an eye specialist while in Boston.
Though the team likely won’t be raising another title banner this season, next Wednesday at the Garden will be a banner night indeed.
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