Hundreds gather in Rock Island this weekend for the 16th annual Justin Sharp Shootout in honor of the former Rocks basketball star who passed away from Leukemia in 2003.
“He loved pranks, he loved joking around, when he got serious about something he got more serious than anybody I’ve seen in my life. And obviously basketball was one of those things,” said Justin’s younger brother Jeffrey.
“He was funny; he loved to make people laugh, that was like his number one thing to do,” added his younger sister Alissa. “The teachers loved him because he was just like a sweet, kind soul that really loved everybody.”
Dozens of teams from throughout the midwest come to participate in the tournament, while learning about Justin’s story and helping to give back.
Proceeds from the tournament go towards the Rock Island basketball program, scholarships, and cancer research. Every year, on the anniversary of his death, Justin’s father Craig drives a check to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. To date he’s delivered 25,000 dollars.
“It’s just something for me to do to know that maybe we’re helping the next family not have to go through what we went through,” said Sharp. “And I know that we’re getting closer….and Leukemia’s not nearly as bad as it was 16 years ago and we’re playing a little part of that.”
In addition they have a “Be The Match” booth set up to encourage others to join the bone marrow registry. In 2018 they had 30 sign up and are hoping for even more this year.
For more information you can follow the tournament on social media:
Facebook: Justin Sharp Memorial Shootout