MILWAUKEE – A Milwaukee family strives to honor a deceased 18-year-old by doing what he loved – playing basketball.
Jalen Gross died of cardiac arrest on the basketball court in May. He played for Marshall High School, graduating in 2020, and his dream was to play in college.
Dumping a three-point shot, Gross waited until the moment to show off his talent at the All-American Showcase in Chicago on May 22 – the last day of Gross’s life.
“He was so excited. He came to my room that morning and lay down on the bed. I know he was excited,” said LaMeesha Beamon, Gross’s mother.
Beamon said his son’s passion for basketball could not be matched.
“Whenever he had free time he would go to practice, practice, prepare for basketball,” Beamon said.
Gross took a few years off college after being diagnosed with heart disease, but he was determined.
“At that point, he was on it, like, ‘Mom, I have to play for high school. I have to play for high school,” Beamon said.
A doctor has cleared Gross to play in high school every year. He then went on to play in college – Chicago’s showcase an opportunity to be spotted by a recruiter.
“My son, he played. He seemed to have everything under control. He was confident,” Beamon said.
Jalen Gross playing in the All-American showcase in Chicago
Pulling out all the stops in the window, Gross’s heart gave way.
“The ball is life. Jalen Gross, he just played hard,” said Beamon.
The family are now working with the All-American Showcase to create both an award and a scholarship in Gross’s name. They want others to be inspired to follow their dreams.
“Football, basketball, soccer, piano, whatever. Go for it. Never give up,” Beamon said.
A GoFundMe online fundraiser was created to help the family pay for funeral expenses.
FREE DOWNLOAD: Receive late-breaking alerts in the FOX6 News app for iOS or Android.