Marshawn Hampton: For The Love of Basketball – Episode 5: Losing Stoney

This is the fifth installment of Marshawn Hampton’s diary from China.
I’m giving this young American basketball player, who is playing professional roundball in Beijing, a chance to connect to his friends and family through this blog.

This past month Marshawn was rocked to his soul after yet another death in the family back in the United States. It’s a wonder where this young man finds his strength to continue playing basketball and forwarding his career when so much tragedy is unfolding at home.

Look back and see how this all started with Episode 1, Episode 2, and Episode 3!

Read Marshawn’s touching tribute letter to his cousin!


Everything in the month of April has effected my day to day, but again I have to suffer from another death in my family. This time it hit me like a ton of bricks. I lost my best friend, cousin, and brother Carl Holt, known to family and friends as Stoney.
I would like family and friends to please continue praying for my family and give a special prayer for my aunt Viola, Stoney’s mom. Please think of his brother Reggie, his sisters Meka and Jeanette, and most importantly, his children.
I decided I would write him a letter to get closure on the fact I will never shake his hand, call or see him again.

Dear Stoney,
I’m so lost bro. What happened?
I received the news after one of my games. I was out celebrating while you were suffering. I am sorry I was not there to help you. It’s so unreal that you’re gone and I will never get to say goodbye to you the way I wanted to.
As I’m sure you know I will not be able to attend your funeral due to my career and contract obligations. Once my season ends I’m straight to Chicago to see your mom and give her the jersey you asked me for and to spend some time with your kids. I really can’t get a grip on you being gone for the rest of my life.
We just got back to where we use to be. What people do not know is we went a while without talking due to a misunderstanding, but we fixed it after your minor setback.
When I returned from China on a break we were able to catch up and we talked for six hours straight about a lot of things. Man, I’m going to cherish that day like no other because of all the things we discussed and also all the funny stories you told me about the things I missed out on while in China. You always told me how proud you were of me and what I was doing with my basketball career, especially because of where we came from.
I keep laughing, Hahaha. All the time we made money playing against different people when we were younger, then once you decided to stop hooping you started making bets against people to play me one-on-one, even putting the money up and giving me a cut. Whether I had money or not, you always fronted the bill on EVERYTHING!
Man, Stoney, I swear we are all hurting, but you have no idea how bad Jason and I are suffering from this blow. We have plenty of memories – good and bad. We grew up together more like brothers than just first cousins. Jason and I still talk about how you were the first one with Jordan’s when we were younger. After that it was history because we all bought the Jordan’s when we got older and were able to afford every new pair that came out. The Air Jordan Bugs Bunny 8’s will forever be a pair of Jordan’s I will cherish and the olive 9’s when me, you and Jason all dressed alike for Geno’s and Kita’s birthday party to celebrate their lives.
I keep thinking about your incident and how you couldn’t walk too well. But, even so, you still went on our road trip to Atlanta and me, Mike, and Jason were carrying you around everywhere hahaha. Remember Jason put you on his back walking up the hill and dropped you and you started rolling down the hill? hahahaha. Man that was one of my favorite trips.
Hey guess what though? I got rid of my Plan B, like you said. Plan B is only a distraction from Plan A. Man all the things we went through between m,e you and Jason. It’s going to be weird not seeing you again around any more Stoney, but I know your legacy will live on because your kids will be great, just like you always said they will. I pray to God when your daughters get married I’ll be there to see it so I can give you the play-by-play.
Hopefully Jason and I can walk them down the aisle in your absence as we talked about in my dream today when you visited me. God willing, I will teach Caron and Carter everything I know about basketball. Man I will do the same for yours as I would do for mine because I know you would do it for me.
I remember when we were 14 and 16 we said if we ever have kids we would look after them if something bad ever happened to one of us. I guess it’s game time right? I’m always ready you know that don’t trip me and Jason will look after them and that’s my word.

Stoney, you have no idea how much you were loved by not just family but friends as well. As you live in Eternity as I know you will because we were both saved on the same day when we were young at uncle d church tell the family I said I miss them. Ask Geno what he thinks of my jump shot now, since he told me I didn’t have one at the family reunion a few years ago, haha! And tell my brother lil’ Joey I hope he is proud of me and the man I became.

Well, I guess this is my final goodbye huh? Well I know God wants your time now since he waited 28 years to have you back. Hey, watch over us all and ask God to give me strength to make it without you being here. You have been on my side my whole life and the adjustment of you not being here will take some time.
Rest easy cousin or should I say my new guardian angel.

Loving you like always.