Lorenzo Charles

Birth Name:
Lorenzo Emile Charles
Birth Date:
November 25, 1963
Birth Place:
Brooklyn, New York
Death Date:
June 27, 2011
Place of Death:
Interstate 40, Exit 290 Westbound, Raleigh, North Carolina
Cause of Death:
Blunt force trauma due to bus crash
Cemetery Name:
Oakwood Cemetery
Claim to Fame:
Charles Lorenzo (Zo to his friends and teammates) was a Brooklyn, New York native and was born to Panamanian immigrants. He played basketball for the University of North Carolina State from 1981 to 1985 where he was coached by the late Jim Valvano. Lorenzo was drafted into the NBA by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2nd round (41st overall pick). Lorenzo is perhaps best known when he made March Madness history when he clinched the title for North Carolina State University over the favored University of Houston Cougars right as the buzzer sounded more than two decades ago. He had a brief career in the National Basketball Association with the Atlanta Hawks from 1985 to 1986 and then played professionally in Europe for about 12 years before retiring from basketball and settling back into the Raleigh area. For the last 10 years, Charles was a driver for Elite Coach, a limo, charter bus and car service when he passed away from a fatal bus accident.

Fun Fact

During his sophomore season with the Wolfpack, Charles scored the game-winning set-back dunk off an airball shot by Dereck Whittenburg in the final seconds of the championship game of the 1983 NCAA Tournament. The basket broke a 52–52 tie at The Pit in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as NC State scored the last eight points to defeat the top-ranked and heavily favored Houston Cougars. What most people don’t know is that the Houston Cougars were led by future NBA All-stars including Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon, Clyde “The Glide” Drexler and the rest of Phi Slama Jama.

Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Oakwood Cemetery

701 Oakwood Avenue

Raleigh, North Carolina, 27601


North America


Map of historic Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, North Carolina
Map of historic Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, North Carolina

Grave Location:

Section Cedar Hill Terrace, Lot 1384 West, Grave 1

Grave Location Description

As you enter the cemetery stay to the right as you drive towards the center of the cemetery, parking at the intersection of Willow Avenue and Locust Avenue. Walk down Locust Avenue about 200 feet towards the stairs leading down the hill and you will see the final resting place of sports legend Jim Valvano on the road. Take the stairs down and make an immediate right and walk another 100 feet to the first black marble monument for the memorial to Jimmy Vee’s standout basketball star Lorenzo Charles.

Grave Location GPS

35.787553, -78.625587



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