Gerald Brown III, a former Frederick Douglass High School basketball team captain who went on to play for then-Loyola College, died Friday night at Sinai Hospital after being shot on West Forest Park Avenue. He was 34.
The incident remains under police investigation.
Born in Baltimore and raised on Whitelock Street, he was the son of Gerald Brown Jr., a nurse, and Pamela Marie Brown. He attended Mount Royal Elementary School and Harlem Park Middle School.
With his family, he was known as Budda or Little Gerald.
“As a child he was always laughing,” his father said. “He was just a funny kid.”
Tyler Smith, with whom he played at Douglass, recalled meeting Mr. Brown years before, when they played basketball at the Mount Royal Recreation Center.
“He had a gift. He was the funniest guy I ever met. He could turn a frown into a smile,” Mr. Smith said. “As good as he was as a basketball player, he was really a better person.”
Another Douglass player, Brandon Russell, said: “Gerald woke up with a sense of humor. Whatever happened on a Monday he would not carry over to Tuesday. He wanted every day to be a shining moment.”
Mr. Brown spent a year at Dunbar High School and transferred to Frederick Douglass when the school was improving its athletic program..
“We were in the process of building the program, and we welcomed him from Dunbar,” said his former coach, Rodney Coffield. “We put everything on the table to make it happen. He became one of the most talked-about athletes in the city. Gerald could shoot the lights out. He could dunk the ball and lead the break.
“He was an extremely gifted athlete and one of the most vocal leaders I’ve ever experienced,” Mr. Coffield said.
Mr. Brown played on Douglass’ undefeated 2001-02 team. It finished the season with 28 wins and no losses, and won the Baltimore City and Class 3A state titles.
“He had a chemistry on the team that came to him easily. He used it to lead and bring out the best in others,” Mr. Coffield said. “And after he went on to college, he came back to Baltimore — and Douglass — to help the community.”
Said a 2002 Sun article: “A raucous, foot-stomping crowd of about 700 packed the stands yesterday at Dunbar, a potentially intimidating factor for Douglass because it had never won a game there. It was even more difficult for Ducks swingman Gerald Brown, who transferred from Dunbar two years ago.”.
The 6-foot-4 junior was quoted in the article saying: "It was tough, this being my old school, and a lot of stuff being said by the crowd. I had to block out the people saying I didn't look right in blue and orange [Douglass' school colors].”
In that game, an 87-72 win, he had two dunks, six steals, five rebounds and four assists.
After leaving Douglass, Mr. Brown spent his senior year at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., and attended Providence College and Loyola.
“Gerald was a tremendous person with wonderful energy,” said his Loyola coach, Jimmy Patsos. “He brought Loyola and Baltimore together. He was a great player and was amazing to watch.”
Sun sports reporter Paul McMullen wrote in a 2007 article: “Sight unseen, Loyola guard Gerald Brown was a third-team preseason all-star in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Given the clutch manner in which Brown performed in last night's 77-69 conquest of visiting Marist, his stock was extremely undervalued. The junior transfer [student] from Providence scored 33 points, collected six rebounds and had three steals to rescue the reeling Greyhounds and vanquish the MAAC favorite.”
"That's my biggest win since 2002," Mr. Brown said, alluding to his state title with Douglass.
The article noted that Mr. Brown, who played against Marist with a bruised knee, produced the play of the game, an off-balance 3-pointer with the shot clock running down that was Loyola’s only field goal in the last six minutes.
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The opposing coach, Matt Brady, said: "Gerald had a hell of a game. He made the mid-range jump shot, and I hadn't prepared our guys for that. We wanted to take away the drive and take away the three, but he had a lot of catch and shoot."
Mr. Brown’s father said that his son was associated with the I-Can Center, a family help agency on Guilford Avenue and Madison Street. He was also involved with a car wash business.
“Because of his popular personality, Budda was a jack-of-all-trades. His videos were very popular,” his father said.
After his days at Loyola, Mr. Brown played basketball in Europe.
He made comic videos that gained a wide online audience. He also did stand-up comedy routines and was a master of ceremonies at local clubs.
Plans for a funeral are incomplete.
In addition to his father, survivors include two sons, J-Lin Brown and Taji Williams Brown; a daughter, Charlee Maree Brown; a sister, Jeraka Brown Lucas; and a family associate, Ramona Dingle, all of Baltimore.