2007-08-24 / Sports

Bell's Memory Honored By Championship Basketball Team

By Elio Velez

The DDN/Sean Bell All-Stars were crowned champions on Sunday afternoon in the eighth annual Hoops In The Sun Tournament men's division. Photo By Bryan Pace The DDN/Sean Bell All-Stars were crowned champions on Sunday afternoon in the eighth annual Hoops In The Sun Tournament men's division. Photo By Bryan Pace One team that participated in the recently concluded Nike-sponsored Hoops In The Sun Basketball Tournament at Orchard Beach in the Bronx seemed destined to win the championship.

Nine teams in the unlimited men's division were defeated this season by a group of former college basketball stars and famous streetball players, who were on a mission to win for an important person who was not even in uniform.

The Doing Damage Nasty Team honored the memory of Sean Bell by adopting his name to become the Sean Bell All-Stars.

They were victorious in a 104-92 win over Don't Fahget.com to win the eighth-annual Hoops In the Sun Tournament last Sunday afternoon.

Bell, a 23-year-old Far Rockaway resident, was fatally shot by three undercover police officers after departing from a strip club with two of his friends on November 25, 2006.

Bell was about to get married on that same day to Nicole Paultre, who is the mother of his two children.

Involved in athletics throughout his youth, Bell became a PSAL all-star pitcher at John Adams and was an important part of the lives of many people, according to "Lil' Rah", the coach of the Sean Bell-All Stars.

"Sean Bell was a really good guy. He was 23-years-old with two kids and ready to get married. How many men do you know who are ready to make that commitment to family?" Rah said.

Bell, though, never made it to his wedding day. After departing the Kalua Cabaret Club, where his bachelor party was held just a few hours before the wedding, three undercover police detectives fired 42 shots and killed Bell along with wounding Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield.

Detectives Gescard Isnora, Michael Oliver and Marc Cooper were indicted and charged with manslaughter, assault and reckless endangerment charges.

Rah knew Bell for ten years and changed the team's name to honor his late longtime friend. Bell traveled with the team in the many tournaments they had participated in throughout the years.

When the Hoops In The Sun championship game ended and DDN was victorious, Rah took out a candle he brings with him everywhere and lit it in memory of his friend.

"I wanted to win everything for Sean Bell. Every tournament our guys are in, we're going to do it in memory of Sean Bell. I feel Sean Bell is always going to live through us," Rah said.

"Sean Bell was supportive of us. Every game we had, he was there. He was our number one fan."

Sean Bell went undefeated in the regular season at Orchard Beach, and faced off against the two-time defending champions in the title game.

They were down by 12 points to Don't Fahget.com at halftime before the Sean Bell team rose from the ashes, erasing the deficit and storming back to take the lead in the third quarter. Sean Bell took a 67-65 lead and never looked back.

B.J. McFarlin scored 21 points and point guard James "Speedy" Williams added 19 to give Sean Bell the win.

Rah says he has the support of friends, family and Bell's fiancée Nicole in keeping the memory of his best friend alive as long as he can.

"This isn't about a publicity stunt, not about money, sponsorship. It was about the heart and keeping it real. We're keeping our friend alive," Rah said.

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