LeAngelo Crumby-Ford’s friends and teammates compared him to Rajon Rondo, the Boston Celtics point guard. LeAngelo, known as “Lee Lee,” loved sports since childhood: basketball was his favorite and he’d played since fourth grade. He always wore jersey No. 3. When a senior teammate jokingly told him he planned to take that number, LeAngelo threatened to quit the team. Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat wear No. 3, but the source of LeAngelo’s passion for the number was unknown, his mother, Donna Ford, told msnbc.com. LeAngelo didn’t have a favorite professional team, but he enjoyed watching Heat player LeBron James.
Most recently, LeAngelo, 17, played guard for the Sharon High School Tigers in his hometown of Sharon, Pa., and for a local Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team. As a participant in the AAU program, LeAngelo traveled around the country about twice each month, playing games from Pennsylvania and Ohio to Indiana. LeAngelo, a sophomore, had made the varsity team as a freshman. His trademark hesitation move, the left-handed drive, made his teammates call him “Lefty.” (His coaches, however, also taught him to dribble right-handed.) On days when he didn’t have a commitment for either team, LeAngelo played with his friends at a recreational club or playground. He dreamed of attending Duke University after graduation, and eventually playing for the National Basketball Association. An avid Duke fan, he picked the Blue Devils to win the NCAA tournament every year.
LeAngelo didn’t particularly enjoy school, but he knew he had to maintain good grades or his mother wouldn’t let him play. His silly, loveable, and friendly nature, his mother said, consistently brought him friends–and attracted lots of girls.
LeAngelo was shot and killed inside a friend’s home in Sharon on Jan. 20.