Share your thoughts and memories of Benji on FACEBOOK:
You’re watching Part I of the “25: The Ben Wilson Story” documentary. For the other parts, click here:
Part II: http://vimeo.com/52280212
Part III: http://vimeo.com/51833485
Benjamin “Benji” Wilson, Jr. (March 18, 1967 — November 21, 1984) was an American basketball player in Chicago, Illinois, who was shot to death on the eve of the start of his senior season in high school. Wilson led Chicago’s Simeon Vocational High School to the Illinois State Championship in 1984. During his three year tenure, he was scouted out by many NBA teams. ESPN HS regards him as the best junior in the country for the 1983–84 season. He was killed only days after receiving a full collegiate scholarship to the University of Illinois. Around noon on Nov. 20, 1984, Wilson, 17, inadvertently bumped into one of three youths outside a convenience store just blocks from Simeon. Words were exchanged. Three shots were fired. Two pierced Wilson’s aorta and liver. They operated. He died at 6 am the next day. His friend and Simeon teammate, former NBA and University of Illinois player Nick Anderson, wore jersey number 25 during his career in his honor. His story was the focus of a 1997 Nike advertisement that aired during the NBA Playoffs, which featured an aged man stating: “One out of every five black men die before they reach the age of twenty-five. That was Benji’s number. Benji was the first in Chicago history to ever be named top high school player in the nation, right before he was gunned down. But you know what? Benji’s not dead: Benji’s spirit lives on in every jump shot. Remember: Shoot over brothas, not at them.”
Current Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose graduated from Simeon in 2007. Throughout Rose’s high school career he wore number 25 and continued Wilson’s winning legacy at the school by achieving two state championships in 2006 and 2007. Simeon basketball player, Jabari Parker had the number 25 stitched into the team sneakers during his time at Simeon. ESPN plans to premiere a documentary on Wilson titled “Benji” on October 23, 2012.