GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Dozens of basketball players hit the court to celebrate the life of a man gone too soon.
For the seventh year, family of Jeremiah Blackwell held a memorial tournament in his honor.
Basketball was his favorite sport.
“We played a lot," said Chaerae Blackwell, Jeremiah’s sister. “He was really great, but when I would beat him, wasn’t a good turnout."
One Jeremiah Blackwell played for years right here in Gautier.
“Twelve years ago he left Gautier, Mississippi, and went all the way to New York City to play street ball. Unfortunately on July 9, 2006, he was in a fatal car accident," said his mother Eleanor Blackwell.
It was on what would have been Jeremiah’s 36th birthday.
Family, friends and some who didn't even know him gathered to do what he loved the most.
“We brought a Spanish team here to be part of this tournament,” said Alfredo Diaz.
This is the Giants' second time playing in the tournament.
“I’m back again because I want to support the family because you never know. Maybe in the future we need some support too, and I know they’re going to do the same thing for me. I’m proud to be here to support this family," Diaz said.
“It would be another reflection of him to see all these people come out to support a great cause, to give back to a deserving scholar," Cherrae said.
Proceeds from this tournament go toward a scholarship for one very lucky Gautier High School student.
“Oh it makes me feel very good. I love to hear the sneakers squeak and just the fact that they’re out here having a good time, and that they can play," Eleanor said.
It's also a chance to bring the community together.
“A lot of kids that are out on the weekend or school break or something like that, it just gives them something extra to do, some fun," said Anthony McDaniel.
Giving back is something Jeremiah’s sister said their mom instilled in them.
“A reflection of my brother’s spirit," Cherrae said.
A second tournament will be held in June to raise money for the scholarship fund.