1983 | On top of the world

McQueen, Myers take in awesome view of Pack’s crowning achievement

calexander@newsobserver.comNovember 21, 2012 

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Albuquerque, N.M.-- 198N.C. State's Cozell McQueen, left, and Ernie Myers celebrate on top the basket after the Wolfpack won the National Championship on April 4, 1983. The Wolfpack won the game 54-52.

MIKE SARGENT — 1983 News and Observer file photo

They weren’t exactly the Flying Wallendas, but it was a pretty impressive balancing act.

Houston beaten and the national championship won, N.C. State’s Cozell McQueen soon found himself standing on the rim. Climbing up beside him, and straining to do it, was teammate Ernie Myers.

“Cozell has those size 16s and me, I have 13s,” Myers said last week. “There’s not a lot of room on that little rim.”

Talk about an iconic photo. McQueen standing tall, holding a “Pack Power” poster over his head, and Myers scrambling to join him became a fitting finish to the Wolfpack’s improbable journey to the top of college basketball.

Myers remembers seeing a sea of faces below, all looking up in wonderment at the basket.

“The view was awesome,” Myers said. “You talk about an adrenaline rush. We felt like we were on top of the world.”

Myers says the two never thought of the rim collapsing. McQueen had done the same thing after the Pack won the West Regional in Ogden, Utah, albeit with a caveat – the backboard had been lowered.

“There was so much joy and happiness we didn’t even think about it in Albuquerque,” Myers said. “We had so many people who had doubted us and Cozell wanted everyone to know the Pack was the No. 1 team in the country. We threw caution to the wind.”

Until Pack coach Jim Valvano finally caught his breath long enough for a look.

“Coach was saying, ‘Get ’em down, get ’em down,’ ” Myers said, laughing. “You know coach. He was already thinking about the next year. He didn’t want us getting hurt.

“That’s something you may never see again, two guys having a ball on top of a backboard. It was crazy.”

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