Rucker Park memorial honors high school basketball players killed by guns

On Saturday, a Ballers Memorial basketball game was held at Rucker Park in honor of all the high school basketball players who lost their lives to gun violence in New York City.

For some parents at the event, it was an opportunity to remember the lives and passion of the children they lost, and draw attention to a prolonged problem they are desperate to stop. 

In the fall of 2020, Eve Hendricks lost her son Brandon, a standout basketball player who was destined for St. John's University.

Hendricks was an innocent bystander at a Morris Heights birthday barbecue on June 28 of that year when he was fatally shot in the neck just days after graduating from James Monroe High School and one week before his 18th birthday. 

"This is his legacy," Hendricks said. "To talk about him to make sure he'll never die."

The event was organized by Cardozo High School coach Ron Naclerio, who coached Aamir Griffin, a 14-year-old shot and killed in the Baisley Park Houses in South Jamaica nearly two years ago.

For Naclerio, he has seen one too many of his players die innocently and unnecessarily in what he says has become an unsafe city. 

"Killing our kids is like a business and I don't see any changes," Hendricks said. "Promises are made but I don't see the changes and as a mother, it just kills us."