Basketball Star Saves up for 2 Years to Pay off Elder Sister’s Student Loan as Christmas Present
Even though he is on a basketball scholarship at Indiana University, he worked hard and saved up for two years to pay off his sister's student loan.
Christmas is the time to be merry and exchange presents. While kids wait for the big man in red to fly down from the North Pole to fulfill their wishes, Lauren Leal's younger brother turned Santa for her this Christmas when he gifted her "the best" gift imaginable.
Anthony Leal, an Indiana Basketball junior star, looks up to his older sister a lot. She is his role model and anchor in life. Wanting to give her something special for all that she'd done for him, Leal decided to pay off Lauren's student loan debt as his Christmas present to her in 2022.
Leal is currently pursuing an entrepreneurship and corporate innovation major at Indiana University. He is also a junior point guard for Indiana Hoosiers and has made quite a name for himself. Lauren, who graduated from Indiana University in December 2022, is a basketball player herself and was a student-athlete at DePauw University until an injury ended her athletic career, reports Good Morning America.
In 2021, the NCAA changed its policy on student-athletes. It allowed players to use their name, fame, and likeness for monetary purposes. In addition, the athletes could take on endorsement deals, sign autographs, monetize their social media accounts, and star in advertising campaigns.
Leal got to work as soon as the policy change came into place. Even though he is on a basketball scholarship at Indiana, he worked hard and saved up the endorsement money for two years. On Christmas day, he surprised his sister with a card that read, "You're a spark of goodness brought into the world. You radiate kindness and bring happiness to many people, especially me."
In a video of the heartwarming surprise, Lauren is seen glancing at her brother's face as she read the card. The note continued, "Hey, sis. I wanted you to know how much I look up to you and admire who you are. Your soul is beautiful, and you are the best role model ever. I have made it to where I am today because of you. Someone like you deserves no burdens or restrictions in life."
Lauren then paused, before exclaiming: "I don't even know how much that is!" Leal assured her, "I do — it's zero now." Teary-eyed, she rushed to her brother and wrapped him in a warm embrace.
Never in my life have I felt this level of shock. I was so stunned and absolutely speechless before my tears flowed. Saying “thank you” will genuinely never be enough! Merry Christmas✝️ https://t.co/4nTssc2KQ3— Lauren Leal (@leallauren3) December 25, 2022
Describing his family's reaction to his surprise for Lauren, Leal said: "She started crying. My mom started crying. Our grandmother started crying. I'm on a scholarship, so money wasn't a concern for me. So, I wanted to use that to help my sister. It felt nice that I could take that burden off her shoulders."
Leal refused to give away the exact amount he paid for his sister's student loan. He described it as a "solid, five-figure number." Speaking of what her brother's gift means to her, Lauren said: "Freedom would be the best word for that. And like I can go full steam ahead in my future and what I want to accomplish, what I want to do, without having that just weighing me down and holding me back. So it's just, it's surreal. It's incredible."
Top 5, parenting moment. Merry Christmas.🎄✨🎁 pic.twitter.com/IgzlZYu8bO— [email protected] (@btownl3alfam1) December 25, 2022
The head coach of Indiana, Mike Woodson, appreciated Leal's gesture. "Well, I think it's a beautiful thing because, again, a lot of these kids, NIL is assisting tremendously with a lot of these families," he said. "Anthony will reap the benefits one day. He might not see it now, but it will return to him. You do good things, and good happens to you."