NEW JERSEY (FOX5NY.COM) - Several New Jersey teenagers recently played in no ordinary basketball tournament. The games were part of a fundraiser and tribute to Jamal Gaines. Gaines, 21, was shot and killed inside his own sneaker store in downtown Rahway, New Jersey, two years ago.
Tina Wilson, Gaines' mother, gathered middle school- and high school-aged boys who are part of a foundation she created in her son's honor to play the basketball games.
Her son, known simply as Mally, was a young entrepreneur who along with his lifelong friends turned a love of shoes into a thriving sneaker store downtown. Then in February 2016, everything changed.
Two gunmen entered Mally's store and shot him to death. Friends and family say Jamal tried to fight the two men off before the shots were fired.
Video released by the Union County Prosecutor's Office shows the two men, one with a limp and the other close behind.
Divinity Gaines, Jamal's sister, said his passion for sneakers was like none other. He literally died for his store, she said.
For a recent episode of our podcast The Tape Room, we spoke to both Divinity and Tina about Jamal's case and the remarkable story of how he built his business.
Whether Jamal was specifically targeted or if it was a burglary or robbery gone wrong are still unclear. The case remains unsolved.
While this family waits for answers, they hope to turn the pain of their loss into something positive—something Jamal would be proud of.