Ryan Bost was a lifelong Evanston resident who lost his life to gun violence in November 2020. His death left a hole in the hearts of his family, friends and community.

Ryan Bost was called the heart and soul of the ETHS boys basketball team. Credit: Photo courtesy of the family of Ryan Bost

Since then, people have tried to do what they can to honor the life and legacy of this young man killed too soon. In the almost two years since his death, Ryan’s life has been commemorated, celebrated and advocated for by the many people who love him.

Ryan was honored at his former school, Washington Elementary School, in June 2021 when they renamed the gym the Ryan Bost Memorial Gymnasium.

Then in November 2021, his family and friends marched from Foster Street and Dodge Avenue to near the ETHS football field to demand justice for Ryan.

And most recently, on a Saturday earlier this month, community members gathered to support “24 Hour” Basketball, a charity game hosted in Ryan’s honor to raise money and ease some of the insurmountable sadness carried by those who knew and loved him.

In fact, the atmosphere of Evanston Township High School’s Beardsley Gym was reminiscent of a party of loved ones, filled with music, laughter and basketball. 

“In our community, we lost a really good person,” said Jamal Graham, charity basketball event creator, ETHS alumnus (class of ’16) and friend of the Bost family. “And just seeing his mom like that, seeing his friends like that – I knew I was able to do this [charity basketball game].”

After the game. Wearing orange uniforms are from left Jordan Gardner, Will Jones, Trevon Marshall and Jamal Stephenson, greeting Dylan Mulvihill (32) in white. Credit: Richard Cahan

The game was set up like an NBA All-Star game. The teams represented two local charities – Camp Kuumba and Warren “Billy” Cherry Scholarship.

  • Team Kuumba supported the camp, which is a mentorship program for young Black men. Team Warren supported the scholarship fund, which helps young adults become teachers and coaches. 

Trevon Marshall captained Team Warren and Rashawn Bost, Ryan’s little brother, led Team Kuumba.

 “I played with Ryan here my senior year,” said Marshall. “He was a freshman on the varsity team. So, just being around the community together and playing basketball.” Marshall noted that Ryan was his younger brother Tavion’s best friend. “Ryan used to be at our house all the time,” he added.

The parents of Ryan Bost – Shawanda and Bobby– and their son Rashawn hold a gift memento following the game in Ryan’s memory.. Ryan, who helped lead the Wildkits on two state championship drives, was shot and killed in 2020 after graduating. The game brought back more than two dozen great Evanston players to ETHS’ Beardsley Gym. Rashawn, who wears his brother’s number, scored the winning basket. “This game will definitely strengthen the community,” said Bobby Bost. (Photo by Richard Cahan) Credit: Richard Cahan

“I’m here to honor my big brother and some of his friends playing a game to honor and keep his legacy going,” said Rashawn Bost.

 The warmth in the gym extended beyond a physical sensation, it was a joy that was felt as players joked like old friends, laughed with the referees and waved to children in the stands.

In the end, Team Kuumba won with a three-point shot made by none other than Ryan’s younger brother Rashawn.

After the game, Schawanda and Bobby Bost, Ryan’s parents, received Ryan’s framed jerseys and photos as a gift. They posed for pictures with community members, friends and family.

“Just to see all his friends come back and just show so much support, as long as the money goes to the best foundations, this is all it’s about right now,” said Bobby.

Sarah Parisien is a long-time Evanston resident and journalist. She studies journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and takes special interest in diverse narratives and equitable writing.