Ben “Benji” Wilson was born on March 18th, 1967 on the south side of Chicago. Growing up Benji dedicated his life to becoming the best basketball player in the country. Every summer he and his friends would play and work on their game endlessly.
Benji had the work ethic to be great.
However, entering high school at Simeon High School, one of the best teams in the country Benji was barely 6 foot tall as a freshman and spent the year on the freshman team.
Fast forward to his sophomore year and Benji has a massive growth spurt. He grew up to 6-7 and he was the only sophomore on the varsity team. He had a good sophomore year but he had an even better junior year.
As a junior, Benji averaged 20 PPG 8 RPG and 5 APG. He had it all. He had the size, he had the athleticism, he had the handles and he had the jumper. In his junior year, Benji lead Simon to the Illinois AA state championship game. Benji and Simeon ended up beating Evanston HS by 9 points in the state final.
Benji attended various national camps in the summer before his senior year and he showed his talent to many scouts. He played so well that he was was ranked the best senior in the country. Young Benji had so much promise until the tragic night of November 20th 1984.
Benji and his girlfriend were walking in the streets and Benji got into an altercation with 2 young men. Eventually one of the men pulled out a gun and shot Wilson.
Wilson was rushed to the hospital but he never made it out. He died on November 21st 1984. He was only 17.
This is truly such a tragic ending to such a promising story. Benji will be remembered forever as the number 25. To remember Benji, the number 25 is worn by many Chicago natives.
Derrick Rose, Jabari Parker, Kendrick Nunn, Nick Anderson and Juwan Howard are just the few of a plethora players who have carried on Benji’s legacy by wearing the number 25 throughout their basketball careers
Recently, ESPN has published a documentary on Ben “Benji’ Wilson.