Many of the players who walked onto the court for the inaugural David Brown Memorial All-Star Game last night at Baltimore City Community College were rivals during their high school days.
But last night wasn't about rivalries or competition. It was about peace. An attempt to confront the random violence that has claimed many victims.
One of those victims was Brown, a former standout at BCCC and Pfeiffer College in Misenheimer, N.C., who was killed in January. Brown was shot as he sat in a car at a traffic light on Russell Street en route to a basketball game at the USAir Arena.
They honored his memory as the Red defeated the White, 121-120, before an estimated crowd of 1,400. But the final score was of no real importance on this evening.
"If something was to happen to one of us, he would have played," said George Washington guard Shawnta Rogers, who played at Lake Clifton. "A lot of us grew up together and we're not going to forget each other."
Nineteen players participated in the game, which capped the school's Peace in the Street Festival. The proceeds benefited a scholarship fund at BCCC in Brown's name, as well as the BCCC basketball program.
One of those players included Houston Rockets guard and former Dunbar standout Sam Cassell, who played with the Red team.
At halftime, Brown's daughter was presented with a $200 savings bond, and City Councilman Carl Stokes presented a RTC proclamation honoring Brown and the school's Peace in the Street Festival.
The Red team, featuring Donta Bright (UMass), Keith Booth (Maryland), Michael Lloyd (Syracuse) and Diego Jones (West Virginia), starters on Dunbar's 1991-92 national title team, trailed by as many as 22 points in the third quarter before closing the margin to 97-92 at the end of the period.
The Red gained a 114-111 lead with more than two minutes remaining in regulation on a three-pointer by Kevin Norris (Miami).
Leading 118-117 with less than 20 seconds remaining, Norris made a three-pointer to give the Red team a 121-117 cushion.
"I wish this game could be a fun all-star game," said Norris, who knew Brown for seven years. "This really meant a lot for me. David was one of my best friends."
"These guys are coming together just as they always do, but this is to help raise the level of consciousness in the community," said BCCC coach Roger Dickens. "This is something that you can catch them doing anyway, but now they are doing it for a cause and a reason."
WHITE -- Jones 6, Thomas 6, K. Evans 16, C. Evans 3, Quillens 13, Lee 35, Hall 13, Elliot 15, Simpson 13.
RED -- Lucas 16, Rogers 7, Norris 11, Jones 6, Lloyd 18, Bright 17, Booth 21, Cason 7, Cassell 18.
White ..29 ..35 ..33 ..23 ..-- ..120
Red .. .29 ..27 ..36 ..29 ..-- ..121