Hornets fan regains vision after virus, makes trans-Atlantic trip to see hero LaMelo Ball

Humphrey Morton traveled from Yorkshire, England to see his favorite player.
Thirteen-year-old Humphrey Morton is from Yorkshire, England, and a few years ago he fell in love with the game of basketball.
Published: Feb. 13, 2023 at 6:18 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - When the Hornets play in the Spectrum Center, you can expect to see hundreds of kids clamoring to get their eyes on their favorite players.

Saturday night, one of those fans just so happened to travel almost 4,000 miles to see his hero with his own eyes, something he wouldn’t have been able to do just a short time ago.

Thirteen-year-old Humphrey Morton is from Yorkshire, England, and a few years ago he fell in love with the game of basketball.

When Humphrey was eight years old, he contracted an extremely rare neurological virus that attacked his optic nerve and left him blind.

“Little by little, over a period of time, he lost his sight. Completely,” the boy’s father, Richard Morton, said.

His vision has since come back, but with some limitations.

“He’ll never be able to read,” Richard said. “He’ll just never be able to do it. Because his optic nerve is damaged. But one thing he can do, is play basketball.”

His favorite team? The Charlotte Hornets. His favorite player? LaMelo Ball.

This weekend Humphrey and his dad made the trip from England to Charlotte so he could see his hero live and up close. It turned out that he got to see him a lot more up close than he expected.

“He’s been smiling ear-to-ear,” the boy’s father, Richard Morton, said of the trans-Atlantic journey.

While in the Queen City, Humphrey not only got to watch his favorite player, but also got the opportunity to meet him.

“LaMelo’s really…he has a lot of charisma,” the young fan said. “He’s really smooth, the way he plays.”

According to the Mortons, the trip turned out to be something much bigger than a game. The meeting between the Hornets star and his big fan lasted only a short 34 seconds, but the memory will stay with Humphrey for the rest of his life.

“It’s unreal. It’s a dream come true,” he said.

Despite what Humphrey has endured in the past few years, he’s kept his head up and has continued to enjoy life.

“Going through a lot of pain, which he’s taken it in stride, and seeing the joy on his face, it’s amazing,” Richard said. “But coming here, shows that, just keeping at it, doing what you can do, rather than thinking about what you can’t do, makes a big difference.”

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