Portland State University basketball player Deante Strickland was shot and killed last Friday in an incident that left the campus reeling.
An added detail is that Strickland was killed by a family member. His story may have been lost due to the recent string of gun violence in America. With that being said, the young man lived a full, vibrant life.
He played his school basketball at Portland’s Central Catholic High School, and he then continued his career at Casper College in Wyoming before being recruited back to Portland where he took the floor for the Vikings.
The famous quote, “It’s not how long you live, it’s how you live,” is a perfect description to summarize his being.
He chose to follow his passion for basketball and ended up making it to the highest level of the college game. Many other players with this route may have given up the sport immediately after high school. But not him, he chose his dream, and he eventually made it back to play for his home town college, all while spreading positively and love everywhere he went.
Head coach of Portland State University’s basketball team Barret Peery said, “We are better for having had Deante in our lives. His smile, passion and energy for life was second to none. He lit up a room and made the people around him better in every way.”
This is the type of impact the young player had on a grown man; it speaks volumes about his character and how likeable he was as a person.
Strickland not only touched the basketball team, he had joined the Vikings football team as well. His influence was felt throughout Portland State’s campus.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of saying he died so young and he had so much to live for. He got to do what he was truly passionate about, and that’s all you can ask for. Understandably, this doesn’t make it any easier for the family members and friends, who will inevitably feel his loss.
But his spirit is still with us. He stands for every player who was told they couldn’t make it, every person who’s been counted out in life, every positive individual who’s touched the existence of others, and every athlete who’s still chasing their dreams despite the realistic expectations.
He may not be here in the physical form, but his energy is now a part of the collective conscious of the universe, and that’s something that can never be taken away.
Peery Added, “We will never forget him and he will always be with us.”