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Record #: SO2022-1617   
Type: Ordinance Status: Passed
Intro date: 5/23/2022 Current Controlling Legislative Body: Committee on Transportation and Public Way
Final action: 6/22/2022
Title: Honorary street designation as "Benji Wilson Way"
Sponsors: Sawyer, Roderick T.
Topic: STREETS - Honorary Designations
Attachments: 1. O2022-1617.pdf, 2. SO2022-1617.pdf
WHEREAS Benjamin Wilson Jr. was a Chicago high school basketball player from Neal F. Simeon Vocational High School and was regarded as the top U.S high school player in 1984; and

WHEREAS Benji began his all-to-short life as the son of Mary and Benjamin Wilson, Sr. As a high school junior at' Simeon Vocational, he had led their Wolverines basketball team to the Illinois Class AA state championship, and was given the honor of being ranked as the best high school player in the entire nation; and

WHEREAS, on November 20, 1984, when Benji Wilson was seventeen years old and had just started his senior year at Simeon as captain ofthe Wolverines, his promising career ended when he was shot in the neighborhood near the school during his lunch break and died from injuries he sustained in the shooting on the following morning; and

WHEREAS the 1984-85 Simeon Wolverines, that would have seen Benji Wilson team with future NBA star Nick Anderson (whom Benji had convinced to transfer to Simeon), went 28-2 without their captain. They advanced to the state 2A quarterfinals but lost to Lanphier High School from Springfield and would not win another state title in the 20th century; and

WHEREAS, to honor their fallen captain, the Simeon Wolverines issued Benji Wilson's number 25 jersey to the player on the team that was deemed the best. After Chicago Bulls great Derrick Rose graduated from Simeon in 2007, the school stopped issuing the number and, in 2009, retired the number in honor of both Rose and Wilson. However, Jabari Parker, another Simeon graduate who made it to the NBA, suggested that Wilson's name and number be stitched into the sneakers Wolverine players were issued; and

WHEREAS the life of Ben Wilson was featured in two documentary films produced in the 21 st century. The first, titled "Benji", made its debut at the 2012Tribeca Film Festival. In 2020, Two Sides ofthe Gun: A Story of Reconciliation was screened in Chicago during NBA Ail-Star Weekend festivities...

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