Tragedy struck at a Nike Elite Youth Basketball League game on Saturday night in Virginia. Seventeen-year-old James Hampton, who played for Team United, collapsed and died on the court while playing against Nike Phamily. According to 10tv, prior to collapsing, Hampton looked at an official and said, “Hey ref.”
In the past, Team United director Jacoby Davis told the press that Hampton had suffered a few seizures last year and he thought that was the case with Hampton’s collapse on Saturday.
“He just fell down on the floor,” Jacoby said.
“He had seizures a year ago — and I remember [one of the Team United coaches] telling me that, ‘I saw his eyes rolling back in his head.’ I ran on the court thinking he was having a seizure. A trainer came over and said he didn’t know what was wrong. Another trainer checked his pulse. He said he didn’t have a pulse. It got crazy after that.”
When asked how to describe his thoughts and feelings during this difficult time, Davis told the Charlotte Reporter that it hard to put into words what happened because Hampton was just the kind of kid who had “so much life” and was always happy and smiling.
“For something like this to happen, I can’t even explain it. And to have to talk to a parent not even in town and tell him that his son has died, well, that’s more devastating,” the emotional coach confessed.
Former NBA Bulls star Scottie Pippen was also at the game as his son was playing with another team in the same tournament. He took to his popular Twitter account to share his condolences with James’ family, friends, and teammates, calling it an “emotional day.”
Following the loss of the talented young star, Jacoby said that the team wanted to finish the tournament on Sunday to honor Hampton, saying that his teammates “just want to play.”
“They really want to finish it up. The coaches are just torn up right now. So it’s going to be tough, but it’s what the kids want to do.”
According to the Duke Basketball Report, Hampton’s team ended the tournament with a win against All Ohio on Sunday in what was called “an immensely passionate and emotional victory.” Duke assistant coach Chris Carrawell, whose son was a teammate of Hampton’s, said that the team could not have played and everyone would have been okay with it, but they knew that Hampton would have wanted them to play, so they did it for him.
Hampton was a senior at Liberty Heights Athletic Institute in Charlotte, North Carolina, and he was also a prospect for the class of 2019. He was expected to be recruited this summer or fall and play basketball in college. On his Twitter account last year, the 17-year-old tweeted that his family was “depending” on him so he can’t stop now.
“In couple years it’s won’t be Section8 living,” he finished the tweet.