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Peace Tournament Honors Gun Victims, Promotes Hard Work

Basketball Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas, a Chicago native, coaches players participating in his Peace Basketball Tournament at Christ The King Jesuit College Prep High School on Nov. 17, 2012. (Credit: CBS)

Basketball Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas, a Chicago native, coaches players participating in his Peace Basketball Tournament at Christ The King Jesuit College Prep High School on Nov. 17, 2012. (Credit: CBS)

Mike Puccinelli Mike Puccinelli
Mike Puccinelli serves as a general assignment reporter for CBS 2...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Hope amid despair – that’s what organizers said Saturday’s Peace Basketball Tournament in the Austin neighborhood was all about.

CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports mourners said goodbye to 17-year-old Christian Taylor at a West Side church on Saturday.

The high school basketball star was shot and killed last weekend in East Chicago. Walter Riley spoke about his stepson’s murder.

“It took part out of us. Part of us died too,” he said.

Christian was the only son of Candice Seals Riley.

“He had a future ahead of him, and he just loved basketball, and he just wanted to love and be loved,” she said.

It was fitting that, just blocks away from the church where Christian was being mourned Saturday, a Peace Basketball Tounament was being played in his honor at Christ The King Jesuit College Prep High School.

Basketball Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas, who helped create the Peace Basketball Tournament, said young people must see to it that Christian and other victims of gun violence don’t die in vain.

“Just like violence has a ripple effect, we believe peace and love has a ripple effect,” he said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said it all comes back to education.

“There aren’t going to be a lot of Isiah Thomases, but there are going to be a lot of kids graduating from high school, going to college,” the mayor said. “One-hundred percent of the kids from Christ the King graduated. One-hundred percent of them are going to college.”

Christ the King sophomore Aldontae Guess said he plans to follow in their footsteps.

“We have to realize that there’s a better way. We just have to work for it,” he said.

Guess said he and the others playing in the tournament need to work hard on the basketball court, and in the classroom, so that more young people aren’t being eulogized, when they should be sizing up their college options.