To memorialize a recently fallen police officer and raise money for his family, junior accounting major Edward Borjon is holding a basketball tournament.
The tournament, which will be held on April 17 at Pearson Hall, will memorialize police officer Robert Wilson III, who was shot on March 5 during a robbery at a Gamestop on Lehigh Avenue in North Philadelphia. Wilson, a 30-year old-father of two, was in the store to purchase a video game for his son according to the Inquirer.
Borjon said he came up with the idea to hold a tournament in an honors course called “The Leadership Experience: Leading Yourself, Leading Change, Leading Communities.” The course requires students to organize an event to benefit the North Philadelphia community.
The 4-on-4 tournament will run from 6-9 p.m. in Pearson Hall. Proceeds will benefit Wilson’s family, including his 10-year-old son and his 1-year-old daughter.
Borjon said he planned the event with several students in his class. The students wanted to run a sports event that would somehow benefit the community and increase ties between students and police.
“In Philly, I’ve noticed a lot of kids play basketball like around the campus and everywhere, so I thought what better sport than basketball?” Borjon said.
Basketball also proved to be a convenient sport, Borjon said, because it requires less space to play than a sport like soccer.
The tournament will consist of 16 teams, who will play 8-minute games. Borjon said he hopes members of the Temple Police will participate in the tournament to create some friendly rivalries with student teams.
“A lot of students, they enjoy the police – they think they’re out for a good cause,” Borjon said. “But then some people think the police are just out to get them, so we want to get the police involved and have games.”
The women’s basketball team has donated memorabilia, which Borjon will use as prizes for high placing teams. Borjon is trying to get memorabilia from the men’s team as well.
Borjon said his group faced challenges with scheduling a location for the tournament, but they were able to resolve issues because many people were supportive of the cause.
At Wilson’s funeral on March 14, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey announced the medal of valor would be renamed after Wilson.
Wilson was one of the first officers in Philadelphia to wear a body camera, according to NBC10, though he was not wearing one at the time of his death.
Some Temple police officers and students knew Wilson, Bordon said, which makes the event even more important to his group.
“It’s sad – someone dies tragically like that trying to uphold the justice system, so hopefully we can ease some of the burden,” Borjon said.
Vince Bellino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.