Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ben Wilson: A Dream Unfulfilled

Ben wilson poster   Basketball fans know the names Marcus Liberty, Nick Anderson, Derrick Rose and the 2012-13 consensus #1 high school basketball player Jabari Parker. Marcus Liberty, from Chicago King was the #1 player in the country in 1985 and the rest attended Simeon High School. Chicago basketball fans know all those names and one more Ben Wilson. Ben Wilson became the first Chicago Public League basketball player to be named the consensus #1 basketball player in the country.

 17-year-old Ben (Benji) Wilson was a symbol of everything promising about Chicago. A sweet-natured youngster from the city's fabled South Side, Chatham community, and America's top high school basketball prospect. Nicknamed "Magic Johnson with a jump shot," Wilson's natural talents and drive assured his best years were yet to come.  Ben Wilson  was tragically killed in November 1984 the day before his senior season ,the outpouring of grief city-wide was unprecedented.

 While I understand this ESPN produced this documentary for television I felt that this documentary needed to be shown on the big screen. I feel that all high school students and athletes especially basketball players need to see this documentary. They need to understand that the senseless violence must stop and the hurt of this violence affects more than the person it is afflicted on but it hurts family,friends, team mates, communities, etc.

 I was present at the memorial put on by his Simeon teammates. The memorial held on the courts he made at Cole Park,was attended by Chicago High School basketball elite. Recently, Cole Park has again become a place where basketball best play as the former #1 college player and the current #1 high school playerhave recently played. Unfortunately, I also saw first hand the pain of his death that still exist.

 The timing of this documentary is amazing as in 1984, the 2012-13 consensus #1 high school basketball player again is a Simeon student Jabari Parker.

  The producers and ESPN thought this documentary needed to be seen as well. The documentary has been shown at film festivals around the country including the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. Last month a special screening took place for the family and close friends on one night and Nike sponsored an invitation only screening the next night at Simeon High School. Now it time for the rest of Chicago to see what so many have talked about.

The Chicago International Film Festival  screened the documentary, three times last week including two screeings with the producers Chike and Coodie.

Finally,  ESPN will air the documentary Tuesday
 October 23,2012

For more information on Ben Wilson, please visit the official website for the Ben Wilson Foundation, Facebook or Twitter #neverforgotten

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