Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Benji Remembered

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    5,651

    Default Benji Remembered

    Don't be confused what I'm writing with the beloved dog from those family movies and TV specials.

    I realize there's lots of you down under who do not know about Benjamin "Benji" Wilson. He was the #1-ranked nationally high school basketball player (a first for Chicago) out of Chicago's Simeon Rice HS, a school Derrick Rose and Jabari Parker later attended, and had all-around skills that he could just do everything in 1984 at the age of 17, a guy who is a prototype for KG, LeBron, and Kobe with Magic's better jumpshot. College coaches were salivating about him. Just as much, Ben was beloved, grounded and good-natured off it in Chi-Town's South Side. At the time, as Scoop Jackson tells in the trailer, it was like "a golden age" in Chicago basketball with its late mayor Harold Washington running things, Jesse Jackson's 1984 campaign, and the Bulls of course drafting MJ. That symbolic promise Ben Wilson embodied was supposed to be a continuation of that after leading Simeon win the Illinois state title with teammate and future Orlando Magic first draft pick Nick Anderson. On November 21, 1984, as he was about to start his senior basketball season, he and his girlfriend were walking away from Simeon HS and spotted a group of guys crowding around the sidewalk and then a confrontation. Wilson tried to break up the fight. But then he was fatally shot twice. There's nothing as tragic in the world of sports as unfufilled potential and cut short way too young before making a true impact; you're alweays left wondering what might have been. It left the city of Chicago looking for answers and asking why on senseless, mindless, and ignorant violence.

    I have no doubt in my mind like with another young basketball player lost way too soon in Len Bias, he would become a great NBA player wherever he played with a HOF career. On October 23, ESPN Films will release the documentary about him staring Anderson and Tim Hardaway. Benji's death still clearly tears them up. Looks very much worthy watching. Yes, he's part of Chicago basketball Mt. Rushmore.

    ESPN Films trailer:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UquuXt6IZoE

    Ben Wilson Wikipedia entry:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Wilson_(basketball)
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    5,651

    Default

    Benji makes its US TV premiere tomorrow here on ESPN at 7pm US/Canada CT and will make its Canadian TV premiere the following Thursday on TSN at 7:30pm US/Canada CT. Looking forward to seeing it. As already mentioned on the first post, the city of Chicago was rocked hard when news of Ben Wilson's death back roughly 28 years ago on the day before he was supposed to start his HS senior basketball season and take them back to Champange. I seriously first heard of his name when I picked up my first Blue Ribbon Basketball Preview book via mail order back in the early 90s--I believe 1993--when I saw at the back of the guide was the list of the top HS basketball players in America and was named in honor of Ben "Benji" Wilson and explained a brief bit about him. Seems as though I got some people here on these boards interested in learning about him with the hundreds of views of the first post, which is a good thing. Hope you'll eventually learn something about him and Chi-Town at the time back in 1984.

    This doc was directed by Coodie and Chike, music video directors (Kanye West's "Through the Wire") turned filmmakers. Both grew up in Chicago during Benji's fame and rise. Unfortunately as you'll see in the doc, with the emergence of hip hop, Harold Washington, the excitement of future Chicago pop culture legends Michael Jordan and Oprah Winfrey and would've been Ben Wilson's contemporaries, you'll see the rise of the Chicago gang culture that claimed his life. You'll get to hear from Common, Michael Wilbon, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Tim Hardaway, Juwan Howard, Scoop Jackson, and R. Kelly. Don't worry, there's a lot of that excellent Ben Wilson's Simeon High basketball footage, albeit grainy, to satisfy your basketball jones of him. Another thing that makes him so legendary now was of the fact there was no Facebook, You Tube, the Internet (with its now-common scrutiny of high school athletes, for one thing), or camera/video phones, with only VHS and newpaper articles with people old enough to remember him and basketball historians acting as the only social networking about him.

    ESPN's 30 For 30 TV spot with the now-trademark "What if I told you..." voice from Michael Smith:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUFTvmMpbgg

    I remember reading recently somewhere online a story back in 1984. Michael Jordan, freshly drafted by the Chicago Bulls and about to embark on an all-galaxy and legendary NBA career, heard about this top-notch and grounded local high school player from Simeon High named Ben Wilson upon his arrival and wanted to play one on one with him. So, MJ actually went over to Ben's home to play with him. They did. When His Royal Airness heard that Ben Wilson was murdered a short time later, Jordan cried.
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    5,651

    Default

    Alright, this is the moment you've been perhaps waiting for with all the fuss this is about. The full Ben Wilson ESPN 30 For 30 doc Benji: The True Story Of A Life Cut Short. Fully engrossing and definitely one of the best ESPN 30 For 30 documentaries!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0nf7b0SzQI
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QJIIZ0f9rI
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJvrVhtNeaU
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iikq4UBV3Xs
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9q_y75HYv04
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DayrU-cWdlo

    And as an added bonus, here's another documentary about him named 25: The Ben Wilson Story. You Tube unfortunately deleted this days ago, so this was taken from Vimeo. Part 2 of this will be uploaded soon and will be included under an edit.

    http://vimeo.com/51830640
    http://vimeo.com/52280212
    http://vimeo.com/51833485

    Ben Wilson Facebook Tribute Page: https://www.facebook.com/BenWilsonTribute
    Last edited by Durbansandshark; 28-11-2012 at 10:09 AM.
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

  4. #4

    Default

    Everett Stephens plays a role in this story as well.
    People do not know what you do not know!

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Durbansandshark View Post
    On November 21, 1984, as he was about to start his senior basketball season, he and his girlfriend were walking away from Simeon HS and spotted a group of guys crowding around the sidewalk and then a confrontation. Wilson tried to break up the fight. But then he was fatally shot twice.
    The best part of the doco was that the convicted killer tells his side of the story, and reveals what actually happened, and it wasn't "Wilson tried to break up the fight."
    Go, Gary Go, Ervin puts on a show

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Cussy View Post
    The best part of the doco was that the convicted killer tells his side of the story, and reveals what actually happened, and it wasn't "Wilson tried to break up the fight."
    Thank you durbanandshark for makeing this its own page i watched the doco and it was great every 30for30 espn doco is awesome just not the basketball ones .To cunstyy you are one piece of cow caca ,so are you saying this great high school legend deserved to get shot and die .
    He proberly would of been one of the greatest chi town players ever to come out of there .Even be4 this doco was out ive heard of him 15 years ago from so many chitown natives and they all say he would of been a bonifide superstar. Unlike lebron and many other young players this guy could shoot the ball from a young age .

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Cussy View Post
    The best part of the doco was that the convicted killer tells his side of the story, and reveals what actually happened, and it wasn't "Wilson tried to break up the fight."
    I really dislike yourbasketball brain in everyway and you have no idea about the game in any of your write ups and you are a nobody loser

  8. #8

    Default

    That makes me sad.
    Go, Gary Go, Ervin puts on a show

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    5,651

    Default

    I since updated my last post here with the Part 2 of the other Ben Wilson documentary from Vimeo as promised.

    I remember reading that alleged breakup attempt somewhere, likely from that Blue Ribbon college yearbook for the 1990-91 season and from Wikipedia (since re-edited there).

    Having one of the convicted killers discussing about what happened that led to Ben Wilson's murder was indeed the most interesting thing in the documentary, among others. In any other things involving a slain subject, the murderers get NO interview for they are seen as monsters and absolutely don't deserve any screen time outside of news footage. It's worse when the ones doing the killing happen to be people of color. Nowdays, and even then, there was a sweeping sense from that Reagan era then in the documentary on the "getting tough on crime", almost always referring to street crime, rape, and robberies, that accelerated during the 1990s with policies to make penalties more punitive with the growing and cutthroat class and race gulfs making things starker, adversely affecting black and Latino youth. If you ask me, what Billy Moore described in the Benji documentary seems more realistic and plausible: a simple thing like a push or shove without apologizing can trigger macho and violent responses in black masculinity in those areas. Not to condone what Billy Moore and Omar Dixon did, I'm glad he'sturning his life around I unfortunately grew up around those "hard" and ignorant young types, as I made known here on those boards. Not even a sweet-natured guy like Ben Wilson is completely immune to that, he feel like he had to survive in that tough enviroment. I wouldn't have blamed him as he was very young and trying to develop a coping strategy--your masculinity is always under assualt. If you've seen the animated TV satire "The Boondocks" created by Aaron MacGruder from his controversial comic strip, it would call them "N**** Moments".

    Understandable that Ben Wilson's girlfriend, Jetun Rush (now Jetun Rivers), declined to participate in this: I know it definitely would've been extremely hard for her to recall those life-altering moments that still impacts her to this day without breaking down into tears on camera. That said, I would've liked to hear from Jetun about it. Guess she's not ready to relive that, if ever.

    Definitely among my favo(u)rite ESPN Films, mostly in the 30 For 30 era!
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    5,651

    Default

    Chicago native Glenn "Doc" Rivers, at the time playing at Marquette and later the Atlanta Hawks when Ben Wilson was playing at Simeon High, remembers the anger the formerly "untouchable" Ben Wilson's death brought Chicago. Much of his family attended Ben's funeral; Doc couldn't follow him closely since he was mostly up Lake Michigan in Milwaukee.
    http://nesn.com/2012/10/doc-rivers-r...chicago-video/

    Another sign how NBA stars at the time were eager about Ben: Magic Johnson called Ben Wilson's home to wish him well at the Illinois state basketball championships in Champagne in 1984. Nick Anderson and Tim Hardaway played with Ben at the Illinois Prairie State Games as teens.
    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1...y-benji/page/2

    Nick Anderson remembers being nearby Ben's murder scene and later watching his close friend die. He later dedicated his subsequent college and pro career to him.
    http://www.nytimes.com/1993/02/14/sp...ted=all&src=pm

    Scoop Jackson's 1994 Slam's brilliant Old School piece on Ben Wilson from the magazine's early days. Details around his murder has since been amended when Billy Moore spoke about that on the ESPN 30 For 30 doc. Ben Wilson's murder was Chicago's 669th in 1984.
    http://www.slamonline.com/online/the...thin-but-love/

    An unknown part of Ben Wilson's legacy. Ben's son, Brandon, was a star in the NYC high school scene after moving with his mother Jatun to New York at the age of 10 months. The attended and plkayed at Maryland Eastern Shore. Still looking to see if he had a pro career. His stepfather introduced him to basketball. Perhaps it was better to perform there or any other city instead of Chicago because of the fact that he's Ben's son with all the unfair comparisons.
    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2...ketball-legend
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

  11. #11

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Cunstyy
    He deserved to die
    o.0
    Go, Gary Go, Ervin puts on a show

  13. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    5,651

    Default

    Back on this after several years. This Chicago Tribune October 9, 1985 article reports how Ben Wilson's then-girlfriend Jatun Rush recalls his 1984 murder under testimony in 1985. What's interesting here was how William Moore, the 5-9 teen who shot Wilson, was physically intimidated by the 6-7 Wilson that Moore felt was "confronted and threatened by ''what he believed to be the tallest man in the world [definitely not true in Ben's case as even in the NBA there were and are taller players. The tallest people in the world actually weren't playing NBA basketball, to be sure]" and had to resort to self-defense and was never a gang member with Omar Dixon. Surely if Ben Wilson wasn't a local young star athlete, this would be among one of the many, many more anonymous tragic young homicides in Chicago:
    https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/...823-story.html

    Need to admit an error: Nick Anderson didn't get to play with Ben Wilson at Simeon at all back in 1984. The future Illinois Fighting Illini and Orlando Magic star was going to when Anderson, as a Wilson recruit, was a junior coming from Chicago West Side's Prosser with Wilson as a senior to help repeat as Illinois Class AA state champs (seemingly a certainty with Ben). After Wilson's sad death, Anderson underwent 15 days in a Lawndale hospital stay for psychiatric evaluation shortly afterwards, fearing he was going crazy. He wore #25 at both places in honour of his good friend and is still scarred by Ben's murder. Always will be. Comes full circle when his 26-year old son Josh's basketball connection with Jonathan Mills and Mills' murder outside a laundromat in 2016. He wouldn't even attend Simeon's reunions or Chicago overall due to the homicides despite being proud coming from Chicago. Some teens at the memorial service even were talking about avenging Benji's murder, but his mother advised them to represent themselves better like Ben Wilson did. Sadly, the murders continues to this day in Chicago:
    https://www.orlandosentinel.com/spor...07-column.html
    https://www.nytimes.com/1993/02/14/s...ng-memory.html

    Surely, Benji would be the greatest Chicago basketball player of them all had he reached the NBA from a city that produced many great NBA basketball players. But no NBA tome will even be written about him. Maybe one of the NBA's greatest ever with an MVP and NBA title as someone who'd be a prototype these days to Kevin Durant but with a jack-of-all-trades game patterned from George Gervin and Magic Johnson. My guess is, Benji would've selected Illinois to stick with Anderson and his familiarity with its Assembly Hall as a high school state champion. DePaul and Indiana also were pursuing him. Imagine how different any one of these programs would turn out to this day had he played. Magic Johnson, as mentioned here, actually wished Benji good luck in the Illinois Tournament in 1984 with a phone call to his home.

    What if Benji Ball lived to play as an Illini? Seemed like a foregone conclusion. Was close with then-Illinois assistant later Illinois-Chicago Flames head coach Jimmy Collins and his fam and already with Nick Anderson. Imagine a stacked lineup had he stayed up to four years with an all-state personnel with Wilson, included fellow Chicago products Lowell Hamilton, Anderson, Ervin Small and Marcus Liberty along with Kendall Gill, Stephen Bardo, Kenny Battle, and Larry Smith and paper over Gill's stress fracture. We could be talking about them as one of the greatest college basketball teams ever, and that's sadly one of the earliest legacy consequences of Benji's death. But there's every possibly that, if Benji was really good to salivate by the NBA's coaches, GMs, and scouts. Though a few would say he would head over to Chicago's DePaul with Joey Meyer instead to stay in Chicagoland
    https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/10...-flyin-illini/
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •