Chris Paul keeps his promise to bring young fan to game in Cleveland

Jack Gallagher met the Clippers star after his mother died in September

A few things have changed for Jack Gallagher in the two months since he met Chris Paul.

The eighth-grader went from hundreds of followers on social media sites to thousands. He received a signed LeBron James jersey and handwritten note from the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar in the mail.

Most significant, he moved out of his father's bed.

"He was sleeping with me every night because with me having kidney failure," said Michael Gallagher, Jack's father, "his daily fear is that I'm dying next and then what happens to him."

Jack's mother, Lisa, died in September from glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. It was through a tribute video to Lisa that Paul learned about Jack and how he had placed one of his CP3 model shoes on his mother's grave in Erie, Pa.

Paul wrote Lisa's initials on his shoes for a game against Detroit in November and invited Jack and his family to be his guests for the Clippers' victory in Auburn Hills, Mich.

On his way out of the arena that night, Paul told Jack he had a friend who played for the Cavaliers who would like to meet him when the Clippers played there in February.

That would be James, the most famous player on the planet.

Even though his middle school team had a game Thursday night, Jack was excused to make the roughly two-hour drive to Cleveland to watch the Cavaliers' 105-94 victory over the Clippers at Quicken Loans Arena.

Of course, Jack's coach did request he bring back an autograph.

Jack's connection to the Clippers has progressed well beyond receiving a few freebies. Shooting guard Jamal Crawford messaged him on social media during the Super Bowl.

"He's got a personal relationship with these guys, and the one thing they've convinced him is that no matter what happens, you're never alone in life," Michael Gallagher said. "That's one thing the Clippers and Chris have proven to Jack: No matter what happens, there's great people out there, and some of them just happen to be superstars."

The Gallaghers arrived in Cleveland toting gifts. There was a birthday card for LeBron James' mother, Gloria, who turned 46 on Thursday, and a pair of CP3 shoes that Paul would sign so they could be donated to the American Cancer Society.

"If one dollar of this that goes to the American Cancer Society helps create one new drug or gives one other kid one more basketball season with his mom," Michael Gallagher said, "it was all worth it."

The Gallaghers were followed by a camera crew from ESPN, which plans to run a documentary on Jack's friendship with Paul during the playoffs this spring.

Redick out

Shooting guard J.J. Redick did not play against the Cavaliers because of the back spasms that had bothered him since early in the Clippers' loss to Brooklyn on Monday. Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said Redick appeared to be improving.

CLIPPERS AT TORONTO

When: 4 p.m. PST Friday.

Where: Air Canada Centre.

On the air: TV: ESPN, FS West; Radio: 980, 1330.

Records: Clippers 33-17; Raptors 33-17.

Record vs. Raptors: 0-1.

Update: The Raptors have gone 9-9 since they held the best record in the Eastern Conference on Dec. 30, including losses to Milwaukee on Monday and Brooklyn on Wednesday. The Clippers have also lost two consecutive games but are 9-3 in the second game of back-to-back situations, including 6-2 on the road.

ben.bolch@latimes.com

Twitter: @latbbolch

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
70°