I asked Dewanna King what the moment was like.
It was 10:44 p.m. at Allen Fieldhouse when her son Devonté Graham — during his senior speech following his final home game — choked up while admitting that she was the one who gave him strength.
What runs through a mother's mind then? What are you thinking about when, while drying your own tears, you watch your son thank you for the man he's become?
King tried her best to explain it to me — while knowing it would be a while before I, the father of a 2-year-old, would fully understand.
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Life doesn't come with an instruction manual. There were moments when King — like all parents — wondered if she was raising Graham the right way.
The story is well known by now. King was 14 when she gave birth to Graham and raised him as a single parent with help from her mother, Doris, and other family members.
All that time growing up, King made it a habit to emphasize certain points: Embrace the moment. Believe in yourself. And always be grateful for what you do have, because there is always someone out there who has it worse.
She still was left with motherly doubts. Even if you say these things often, are your children listening? Are they understanding the life lessons you're trying to instill?
As her son spoke to 16,300 fans after KU's win over Texas, King came to an important realization: Her words had gotten through.
"He took it in, and he learned from it," King said.
There was plenty of reason, then, to be proud on Monday.
Graham again was KU's rock, posting 10 points and 11 assists while playing 40 minutes. After it was over, coach Bill Self offered one of the best compliments he'd ever given at a Senior Night, saying that Graham was "probably as good a leader and man as we've had here at Kansas."
King's mind wandered back to the beginning with Graham during that time.
"Just to be here and know that 23 years ago, statistically, we're not supposed to be here," King said. "Statistically, I would have been a high school dropout. (Devonté) would have been in jail or dead."
Instead, King finished high school and later graduated from Shaw University with a business administration degree. Graham will get his KU diploma in Communication Studies this May.
"We beat the odds," King said.
And the next few weeks will show if Graham can do that one more time.
Even if KU is a No. 1 seed, it will not enter the NCAA Tournament as a favorite. This team has often been put down for its lack of size and depth, meaning a deep run would be viewed more as a surprise than an expectation.
Graham has prepared himself for this moment, though. King likes to repeat the phrase, "You can't just show up," and since arriving at KU, Graham has helped his own fate by not taking the opportunity for granted.
"It was just God's will that we'd be here and that we were placed here so that he can do what he did," King said. "He left his footprint. He's going to leave his heart here."
And there's still time left to complete his own KU legacy.
If nothing else, expect Graham to embrace the moment. Expect him to believe in himself. Expect him to be grateful for what he has.
There's a simple reason for that — and also the very explanation for why King was crying in the final minutes of Graham's speech Monday.
All those years, it turns out, her son had been listening.