Jazz guard/forward Thabo Sefolosha was rafting down the Provo River in Utah last month on a fall Sunday when he saw a woman in the water with her life vest over her head, struggling against the current. So he helped the capsized Lori Clark into his own boat.
Sefolosha told The Salt Lake Tribune that he “didn’t save nobody,” but Clark’s friend Heidi Bishop disagreed.
“I don’t know how I would’ve gotten her 20 more minutes down the river,” Bishop recalled. “He really did save her life.”
Sefolosha signed with the Jazz in July and was getting used to his new hometown by taking a raft ride, along with his wife and two daughters. Clark, also not a seasoned rafter, was accompanied by friends and her children on a “bucket-list” experience, per the Tribune.
Here’s how Clark wound up in the water:
With about 20 minutes left on the trip, Clark hit a boulder in the stream and flipped over. Her tube and oars quickly floated downstream. Her life vest rode up past her head, and she was struggling for air.
“I always wondered how people drowned in small water before this happened,” she said. “The water was so swift, I couldn’t catch my breath. It was really terrifying.”
One of her friends, Heidi Bishop, grabbed her shirt and tried to take her along with her, but she was worried that Clark might capsize her as well. As she thrashed along in the water, Clark was hitting rocks in the stream, gathering cuts and bruises.
The Tribune reports that another rafter declined Clark and company’s pleas for help before Sefolosha came along. The story only got out because someone tweeted at reporter Kyle Goon telling him to ask the player about the incident.
Hey @kylegoon if you want a piece on the new guys, ask Thabo about saving the lady with his raft going down the Provo River.
— The Bird (@UtahUtesMan) October 3, 2017
It sounds as if Clark was lucky to have Sefolosha there. He seems to be rejecting the label of hero, but we’ll bestow it on him anyway.