By David Jordan Jr
A day of love, a day of emotion, a day of remembrance and a day of celebration. Today March 4th marks thirty years since the sudden and tragic passing of Hank Gathers. Gathers, a forward on the Loyola Marymount University men’s basketball team was about to realize his dreams of graduating college and embarking upon a career in the NBA, as he was one of the top players in the country. Along with his friend and teammate from high school Bo Kimble, the Hank & Bo Show had journeyed across the United States from Dobbins High School in North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Los Angeles, California; first at USC and then at Loyola Marymount University. During their playing careers at LMU, the dynamic duo had elevated the Lions to national title contenders with “The System” as the team ran teams out of the gym nightly at a feverous pace. It’s been thirty years since this team transcended college basketball and captivated the nation with their memorable NCAA Tournament run that ended with a loss to the eventual national champions, the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels in the Elite 8. The heart of Hank, the scoring of Bo, the sharpshooting of Jeff Fryer and the savvy of Terrell Lowery are just a few of the elements which made this team not only unique but great. On Saturday, February 29th, 2020 the team reunited for two celebrations; the 30th anniversary of that winning season and the unveiling of the Hank Gathers Statue on the campus of LMU. Family, friends, and classmates were all on hand to take a trek back down memory lane and to celebrate the greatness of each individual on the team. Taking place during family weekend at the university, the day afforded all of those in attendance the perfect opportunity to share love, reminisce on the 1989-90 team and celebrate the life and legacy of the late Hank Gathers. Hank’s mother Lucille Gathers, his brother Derrick Gathers and his son Aaron Crump along with a host of other family members and friends from all over were in attendance for the unveiling of the statue. LMU Athletic Director Craig Pintens spoke about how that 1989-90 team-inspired he and his friends as they pursued their hoop dreams, joking that the only thing they needed was coach Paul Westhead leading them to their destiny.Paul Westhead, the coach of that legendary team spoke about the togetherness of those Lions and how Hank’s infectious enthusiasm and zest for life continues to inspire him and his family to this very day. Throughout the crowd of attendees, you could see the timeless and authentic love for that team and Hank Gathers. Sprinkled through the crowd were various Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble jerseys, original “Did It For Hank 44” shirts and sweatshirts as well as many alumni with ticket stubs and memorabilia from that moment in time of LMU basketball. As the statue was unveiled, emotions took a stranglehold on everybody in attendance. The statue was created by The Fine Art Studio of Rotblatt-Amrany, makers of many statues across the world including the Michael Jordan statue outside of the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, and the Magic Johnson statue outside of the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. As the crowd began viewing the statue various people shared memories, thoughts and emotions as Hank Gathers loomed as a superhero in the background. Included on the statue were the names of all of his teammates and the entire coaching staff.
Derrick Gathers, Hank’s brother spoke about the statue and how gracious he and his family were for the university to honor Hank.
Aaron Crump, Hank’s son talked about how the love for his father touched him and how great it was to see his father’s legacy immortalized forever.
Bo Kimble talks about their journey together, the 1989-90 team being honored and Hank’s legacy.
Classmates and friends share memories of Hank
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