It’s a cold, snowy night outside Abe Lemons Arena. Inside, nothing but warmth and love for Gary Inglett who is closing out a basketball career that’s been his rock through his life’s darkest times…
Gary Inglett says I’m excited because I’ve accomplished it. Nobody thought I would, but I’ve come this far.
Inglett has always loved the game. His number one fan…his dad Joe.
Roy Inglett (Gary’s grandfather) says his dad told him that he wanted him to be a ball player. Gary told him he was going to play ball.
But Joe was diagnosed with cancer. Through his dad’s battle with the disease, Gary promised him that he would one day play college basketball. Joe didn’t live long enough to see that promise fulfilled.
Gary Inglett says he never got to watch me graduate, he never got to watch me play high school basketball always promised him i was going to get to college and play basketball. I stuck to my promise.
Myra martin (Gary’s grandmother) says it was hard on him for quite some time…still is.
Without hesitation Gary’s grandparents, Roy and Myra martin stepped in to raise him.
Roy martin says we’ve always been mam-aw and paw-paw. He was at our house an awful lot, so was joe. It was just an everyday routine, everday life.
Gary Inglett says they’ve been my supporting cast forever. Since i was this tall. They’re like my number one fans.
But not too long after the loss of his dad, gary fell in love. He met his high school sweet heart jamy, a basketball player herself.
Jamy Inglett (Gary’s wife) says we bonded over our love of basketball. I’m a mavs fan, he was a heat fan until Lebron went to the Cavs (laughs)
Through love and basketball Gary earned all-state honors his senior season and committed to play in college at Redlands in El Reno. Then another blessing came his way. Jamy found out she was pregnant. Eventually baby Marley joined the family in November of 2010. But the young married couple knew something wasn’t right.
Jamy says she just looked really weak. She wanted to eat. She looked like she was hungry. I was breast feeding at the time, I tried to get her to eat, she looked like she just didn’t have the energy to do it.
Throughout numerous check ups, doctors continued to give Marley a clean bill of health. Five days after she was born and moments before Gary was to play a game. The unthinkable happened.
Jamy says as soon as we picked her up out of her car seat, she went limp and her eyes rolled in the back of her head.
Little Marley went into cardiac arrest. The family rushed to Intergirs hospital and let Marley go never knowing if they’d see her again.
Jamy says the doctor came in to talk to us and he said i don’t have a whole lot of time to talk, I’m trying to save your baby’s life.
Marley was born with a major heart defect that would require two open heart surgeries. It also meant she had to be flown to Tulsa for the operations.
Gay Inglett says she only had a 5% chance to live. The doctor told us the surgery might help and it might not.
Jamy inglett says at that point we went to follow the helicopter to Saint Francis and that’s where we spent the next 3 months.
Marley endured more than 20 different operations
Gary Inglett says I can’t even count how many blood transfusions she had in in 3 months. It was a lot.
Jamy Inglett says I’m a very religious person so i prayed a lot.
Gary Inglett says it was an emotional thing for me and my wife. We didn’t know how to handle it at first, but we stuck together and got through it.
Including baby Marley. However she faced a lengthy rehabilitation process. Gary moved on from Redlands transferring a couple of times before finally settling in at Oklahoma City University. Which kept Marley close to her doctors. But Gary never stopped playing the game he loved
Jamy says i think basketball kept him sane. It was a really good distraction for him.
Whether it was hospital visits to Tulsa or a game just about anywhere else in the country, his grandparents were with him every step of the way.
Roy Inglett says didn’t miss many.
Myra Inglett says no i can’t remember when we missed any, everytime he’s been playing. We’ve been there.
They’ve kept every box score, paper clipping and every achievment inglett has earned in his career. And couldn’t be more proud of the man gary has become.
Roy says he’s finishing his college education. That’s what i’m very proud of because he’s going to need it in the future.
And as for Marley, she’s now a healthy and happy 4 year old who enjoys the game her dad loves.
Gary says I call her before games and make sure she’s doing alright. She gives me a little pep talk telling me to do good. Like I said I use it as motivation more than anything.
Motivation for a journey the second team All-American wouldn’t change a thing about as long as he has his family by his side…
Gary Inglett says I wouldn’t…it was hard at first, but it’s getting better. I don’t think I would change it at all really.
In Oklahoma City, Dylan Buckingham, NewsChannel 4 Sports.