It’s odd to be heartbroken by the death of a movie character. Obviously, movie deaths are fictitious, but for some people, they hit home.
There is Ricky Baker from Boyz N’ The Hood, Mufasa from The Lion King, Johnny from The Outsiders, and many others that’ll make you do the Michael Jordan crying face.While those losses are miserable, none hit me harder than the passing of Jarius “G-Baby” Evans from the movie Hardball.
G-Baby was hit by a stray bullet in a drive-by shooting. The scene from the tragic moment is etched in my memory fifteen years later.
As I type about the pint-size marvel, I am close to shedding thug tears. Why? Because G-Baby was a wonderful soul. He was funny, charismatic and real. Although he stood about 4-foot-nothing, his presence was colossal.
While he was small in stature, he was the heart and soul of his little league baseball team. He couldn't play due to the age rules, but he was the biggest fan of his squad. What he lacked in size, he made up for with his gigantic heart and infectious personality.
One of my fondest memories of him, is when he had to break down an argument with his teammates to Coach O’Neill.
“All right, let me break it down to you right quick. Andre says he can catch any pop-up anybody can throw. Kofi say ‘That’s bullsh*t. You a busta.’ Andre say ‘Roll up, b****.’ Kofi say, ‘I’ll give you all my gum if you can catch this ball.’ He threw the ball. Andre caught it. Andre say ‘Pay me my money.’ Kofi say, ‘You a cheatin’ b****.’ No wait. Kofi say, ‘You a motherf****.’ ”
In true G-Baby fashion, he broke down scuffle, and coach O’Neill walked away with a Ph.D in Hoodnomics. From there, he and the coach formed a unique bond. From learning about one of the greatest rap songs of all-time, to long, inspirational conversations, the two were attached to the hip. Who would have thought that the lyrics to “Big Poppa” by The Notorious B.I.G. would have bridged the gap between a middle-class white male and a little tyke from Cabrini Green projects in Chicago? That was the power of G-Baby and that’s what made him one-of-a-kind.
Despite not having a lot of on-field memories, the one that stood out was when he delivered a key hit that won a game for his team. When he was up to bat, he displayed a level of fearlessness and resiliency that only he could show.
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As I sit here as a 30-year-old, G-Baby's death still hurts.
Since the time of his death, I’ve graduated from high school and college, become a writer at one of the best sports sites in the world here at The Sports Fan Journal, and gotten married.
Those things could have happened with G-Baby after receiving a guidance from Coach O’Neill, but it never transpired all because of that fateful day on the North Side of Chicago.
It’s 2016, and I am still shedding tears. While he's not here in the flesh, his presence will live on forever.
All Hail G-Baby. Rest in Peace.
O'Neill wasn't a middle-class white male. He's one step short of a no-class white trash! ;-)
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