Socastee community honors former basketball player with tournament

The Socastee community came together to honor the life of a former basketball player in a familiar place.
Published: Jul. 31, 2023 at 10:11 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 31, 2023 at 10:18 AM EDT
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SOCASTEE, SC (WMBF) - The Socastee community came together to honor the life of a former basketball player in a familiar place.

Elijah Lawson remembers his brother younger brother Ezra Lawson finding the love for basketball at 5 years old.

“Ball handling, shooting, defense, you know, so that’s what it was about,” said Elijah.

Over the years, Ezra’s love for the game flourished as he was determined to be like his older brother.

“1 on 1, full court to 100,” he said. It would be so funny because we would play till like 20-30 it’ll be close competition, and then I’ll start beating him, start shooting some threes, score would be like 60 to 20, and he’ll like be all mad.”

Ezra was a former Airman for the United States Air Force and a Socastee High basketball player. He died in a car accident in May 2022, less than two months after his 19th birthday.

Family and friends said his unmatched love for the game created the 3V3 basketball tournament at Socastee High School in his memory.

“Ezra was a good friend of mine, always keeping my faith high,” said Mike Herrin, a former teammate. “Always keeping me calm, confident, always telling me just keep going. He’s really somebody that I really you know think about every day.”

Not only did the tournament unite the Socastee community, but it also birthed The Ezra Lawson Foundation Scholarship.

Proceeds raised will be awarded to a Horry County graduating high school senior.

Other siblings also shared what they will miss the most about Ezra.

“This relationship I had with him was really special because we would tease each other, and you know, like all siblings fight,” said Zion Lawson, his younger sister. “Then Ezra had like a really special place in my heart like I could come to him about specific things, I know he’d be able to help me, or he always want to talk to me about something.”

Those participating in the tournament had the chance to enter a 3-point and half-court shootouts, as well as entering raffles to win prizes. However, the tournament could not have happened without those who loved him the most. His family and friends say they are glad to let his legacy continue.

“It’s incredible! I love how we want to just keep his name alive and keep it in the everyday spirit, just knowing that he’s here no matter what,” said Elijah.

A scholarship recipient will be selected during the upcoming school year.