"There was this music playing on the radio," says Louis. "I suppose I should have asked the man to turn to the game, but he was so far away I don't think he could have heard me. There even might have been a television in the back. I didn't know. I was new to all of this."
He arrived at the Kingdome as the crowd was leaving, still wearing his mailman's uniform underneath a Michigan jacket Rumeal had given him. He asked the people who were leaving who had won. Someone said, "You're wearing the right jacket."
"I was lost," says Louis. "I didn't know what to do next. I had a couple of bucks in my pocket, but I didn't even know where the hotel was. The limo was gone. I was just standing there, and I heard this voice. It was Helen."
By the time the final against Seton Hall began, two nights later, the tale of Louis's trip had spread. Helen had been made an honorary member of the Michigan cheerleading squad. Louis was a face for the CBS cameras. What is the network term—the story line? Helen and Louis were a big part of the story line.
They sat with Little Louis and watched the game go back and forth, always close, on the Kingdome floor. Rumeal was one of the ringmasters of the show, the point guard, in absolute command. He would finish with 21 points and 11 assists. Early in the second half he unloaded a dunk that would have looked fine on the dirt in Cambridge. Take that, Donald. The night before, Helen dreamed that the championship game would come down to the final seconds and Rumeal would cut through everyone to dunk for the winning basket.
"Only, I had it wrong," she says. "The game came down to Rumeal. But he was shooting foul shots."
Seton Hall's John Morton missed a jumper with 12 seconds left. Glen Rice of Michigan grabbed the rebound and passed to Rumeal. There was never a doubt in Rumeal's mind about what he was going to do. Determination always has been his strength—and, his coaches sometimes say, his weakness. He will do what he is going to do. He dribbled the length of the floor. Driving toward the hoop, he collided with the Pirates' Gerald Greene. Charge—Robinson? Foul—Greene? Referee John Clougherty pointed at Greene. Rumeal was on the line. Three seconds remained. One free throw to tie, one more to win.
Helen began to cry and said she could not watch. Little Louis tugged at his father's sleeve.
The street was known as Norfolk Place when Robinson first arrived. It has been renamed Rumeal Robinson Place by the city of Cambridge. Looking for the Ford Hotel? It is located at 2 Rumeal Robinson Place. The parade has been held. Rumeal has shot free throws in the White House Rose Garden, re-creating the moment. He made one shot and then gave the ball to the President.