YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Hundreds of people took part in a basketball tournament Saturday in Yonkers to honor a standout high school athlete killed in a drive-by shooting back in 2015.
As CBS2’s Reena Roy reported, his family brought the community together in order to keep his memory alive and give back.
As the 600 basketball players hit the courts, there was much more on their minds than just the game.
“We have to continue his legacy and make sure everybody knows how amazing he was,” Jimmy Nolan told Roy.
Watching over them was one of Yonkers most celebrated athletes – Michael Nolan.
“He was the only 6’8” guy on the court. Every time he would dunk the ball, everybody would go crazy,” Jimmy said.
And for the past three years, he’s been one of the most remembered athletes.
“Nothing’s changed. We cry every day. He was the heart of the family,” mother Donna Nolan said. “I miss him like crazy.”
It was the second annual tournament held in honor of the 23-year-old, who was a star basketball player and professional baseball prospect.
He was killed in a 2015 drive-by shooting in Yonkers. Police said it was related to a dispute over a drag race that happened two nights earlier.
The shooter pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
“Mike has been my best friend since we were literately like in the fifth or sixth grade. So it’s really not even a question of me being here,” friend Davonn Coleman said. “Everybody knew him from sports to anything — helping out with younger kids.”
“It’s honoring a young kid who lost his life too early,” said Jibbrale McField. “Just to be able to play and support my neighborhood, it’s perfect.”
The heartache will never disappear, but his memory lives on through his family and friends helping others. The 12 teams competing Saturday all donated money to the Michael Nolan Scholarship Fund for area students.
“Knowing him, he would love this, he would love this – just everybody playing basketball, everybody coming together. That’s what he was about,” Donna said. “He would be doing the same thing to give back.”
Last year, the fund raised about $10,000. The money went directly toward scholarships for eight Yonkers public school students.
This year, the family hopes to raise even more. They also host an annual softball tournament in Michael’s honor.