Sean Bell’s name lives on

There wasn’t much his streetball friends from Jamaica could do in the way of rallies or protests, but to hear his name every time they stepped on a basketball court was one way to honor Sean Bell. The streetball team DDN, a group of Jamaica, Queens natives who were close with Bell, added his name to their team in each of the summer leagues they compete in.
From Rucker Park in Harlem to Orchard Beach and Dyckman in the Bronx, the DDN/Sean Bell All-Stars keep his name alive.
“It’s fortunate for me playing basketball, I can bring his name to light,” forward William (Beast) McFarlan said. “For right now, the way I see it, it’s set in stone, the name of our team is DDN/Sean Bell All-Stars.”
“He’s going to live through us,” Coach Raheem (Rah) Wiggans said.
Bell, along with friends Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield, were leaving his bachelor party at Club Kalua on 94th Avenue in Jamaica during the wee hours of November 25, when he was killed in a hailstorm of bullets from three police officers. Two of the cops were indicted and pleaded not guilty to manslaughter chargers. The other was indicted and pleaded not guilty to two counts of reckless endangerment. Guzman was shot 16 times, but survived.
“It was a tragedy that night, so we just want everybody to know that we’re here, we’re going to be here,” said Wiggans, who got the blessing for the name change from Bell’s fianc/e, Nicole Paultre-Bell. “I knew Sean Bell for a lot of years; he was a great individual, a great guy.”
After finishing his baseball career at Nassau Community College, Bell spent many summer days in the stands following around his buddies. He was always there to provide support and energy, getting on the opposition, igniting his teammates.
“When we were losing and times were bad, he picked us right back up,” Wiggans said. “His energy was unbelievable. He kept us motivated, kept us going.”
“He was a person, when he was here, when he was at the games, he was known,” McFarlan said. “He was talking trash and telling the other players they weren’t any good, and they can’t play with us. It was always good to have somebody you hear that is behind you.”
“He was like one of our teammates,” said Raheem (The Wire) West, childhood friends with Bell.
Whether it is people hearing his name on a basketball court or not, his friends say, Bell’s legacy and the tragic incident will remain in everyone’s minds, particularly those in Jamaica.
“His memory is going to be alive regardless,” Wiggans said. “We’re not going to let his memory die.”

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