Since the middle of the summer, I have been working on a documentary for ESPN Films about the late Chicago high school basketball star Ben Wilson. The documentary is scheduled to air next spring. The charismatic Wilson, 6-9 with a point guard’s skills, was Magic Johnson with a jump shot. In November 1984, on the day before his senior season began at Simeon, following a state title the season before, Wilson, then rated the number one player in the country, was shot and killed outside school in an act of youth violence. His death sparked a city-wide outpouring of grief, and still resonates 27 years later in Chicago. The story looks at the different paths that converged that day, and then shot off in so many directions thereafter. It’s been a pleasure to work on it.
I know that residents of Chatham, the neighborhood Wilson grew up in, may end up here as a result of a conversation I had with Worlee Glover, the head of a group called Concerned Citizens for Chatham. I asked Worlee to ask around the neighborhood for video or photos taken by people who lived in Chatham in the 1960s through the 1980s, of the neighborhood and/or Ben too. Those who can help in that respect, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.