Ben Wilson for the Indiana University Basketball team by Coach Bob Knight (November, 1984)

Remarks on the death of Ben Wilson


“I don’t know how many of you are aware of this,

most of you met Ben Wilson, the kind from Chicago,

when he came down here for his visit several weeks

ago. He was killed yesterday in a shooting incident

in Chicago. We really don’t know a great deal about

it except that apparently at noon he was walking out

in front of the high school with his girl friend and they

were going to get a sandwich or something in a local

drive-in place there close to the high school; Joby and

I have been to the high school a couple of time. He

bumped into some kid or some thug and the Wilson boy

tried to make an apology or an excuse or something and

the guy pulls a gun and shoots him twice. He died this

morning at 7:00. It’s not just a tragedy. It’s not just a

tragedy for the boy himself but it’s a tragedy in the

circumstances because here’s a kid that wherever he

went to school had a great future and a great opportunity

to be a role mode for kinds and to be able to show kids

that are stuck in South Chicago that there is a way out of

it, academically and athletically and now that will never be.

Sometimes you pause to wonder why something like that

happens. There’s a guy sitting up there who is still alive

and here’s a kid who is an absolutely outstanding kid who’ll

never have a chance. I think a lot of you got to know him

while he was down here and we will try to do whatever we

can to help his family. We’ll wait a week or so and Joby and

I will go up to see his mother. We will send something up

there from you people in basketball. I think you people can

just do what you can do to serve as an example for kids. I

don’t need some guy that’s messing up in the classroom and

isn’t going to class and getting D’s where he should be getting

B’s. that’s not what we need here. We don’t need some guy

that’s out here no thinking; what we need out here are people

that kids everywhere can look and say, “Boy, that’s what I’d

like to be.” And that’s part of what playing basketball here is

all about and that’s a very big part of it and here’s a kid that

won’t have and I just think that perhaps each one of you is your

own way will give a little thought to Ben Wilson and his family today.”


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