ESPN's 'Benji' Director Coodie Simmons Speaks Out About Ben Wilson
Benjamin Wilson, known as "Benji," the Chicago Simeon High School basketball player who was gunned down in 1984 by Billy Moore, 16 at the time, is being immortalized by directing team Coodie Simmons and Chike Ozah, more commonly known as Coodie & Chike, in the ESPN documentary, Benji, part of the "30 for 30" documentary series.
Simmons, who was 13 years old when the 6' 7" Wilson, who was considered one of the premier basketball hopefuls in the nation at the time, remembers the event well. "Back then, we saw a lot of people get shot and be ok," Simmons told the Chicago Defender. "The next morning, I was home when I found out he died, and I was crying like he was my brother."
Coodie & Chicke's documentary, which is being praised as "sorrowful and powerful," depicts Wilson's young life as a potential basketball star against the backdrop of Michael Jordan's rise to fame, as well as the drugs, violence and politics of 1980s Chicago.
In 1984, Simmons points out, there were 669 murders that preceded Wilson's November 21 shooting. "That's the only one we talk about," he said.
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