Aaron Crump with his father’s former Loyola Marymount teammates, Jeff Fryer, Chris Knight (left) and Bo Kimble (far right).
Twenty-five years ago, the untimely passing of Eric “Hank” Gathers left an indelible mark on a family, a city, a university and in the hearts of two men.
Those familiar with my writing know the unwavering reverence I have for Hank. I’ve made a personal commitment to his legacy and memory which extends far beyond March 4, 1990. Hank Gathers was a brother, father, son and friend. That person deserves to be celebrated with the same passion with which we’ve mourned his loss for a generation.
The name Aaron Crump may not raise too many eyebrows, but he is the son of Hank Gathers. Crump was only seven years old when his father passed, but has fond and vivid memories to recall. The power of social media made it possible for Aaron and I to meet, speak fondly about his father and even talk about how we can continue to solidify the legacy of Hank Gathers.
I’ve always had a thing for important dates, March 4, 1990 has always been significant to me and I knew this year would be twenty-five years since Hank’s passing. I wrote pieces in 2005 and 2010 and quite honestly, I didn’t know what to do for this year. I felt like I said all I could say about Hank as eloquently as I could, so re-posting the 2010 piece was probably going to be the best thing to do.
Strangely enough, I received an InstaGram friend request from Aaron Crump last fall — his name didn’t resonate with me right away — after looking at some his photos, it hit me that he was the son of Hank Gathers. Even in that moment, it never dawned on me to request an interview with him. One day in mid-January, I finally reached out and sent the piece I wrote in 2010 along with an invitation to be interviewed. After reading the piece, he told me it was the best piece he had ever read on his father and was more than willing to speak with me — just like that. I was floored knowing this would be the ultimate tribute to Hank in my eyes. Over several conversations with Aaron, one thing that stood out was a statement he made as we introduced ourselves, he said, “The entire world knows who my father is, yet so many people don’t even know I exist.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Aaron Crump.