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Too Young to Die: Shyheim Buford

Shyheim Buford, 17, was a big brother both on and off the basketball court.

Shyheim Buford was a big brother not only to his four younger siblings but also to young members of his Delaware community. The 17-year-old athlete, an avid basketball player, included anyone who wanted to join him in a casual game at the local courts.

He played guard on the varsity team for John Dickinson High School in his hometown of Wilmington, Del. And a few years ago he helped Stanton Middle School win the state championships. He dreamed of playing for Ohio State University.

"'If you don't make it to the professionals, what are you going to do?'" his mother said she once asked him. "'Be a mechanic,'" he replied. He loved new cars and hoped to receive one for Christmas this year, his mother, Lekisha Buford, told msnbc. When she offered to buy him a $500 car, he refused to accept it; he dreamed of a Chrysler 300, Lexus, or Dodge Charger. 

Shyheim wouldn't let his 11-year-old sister wear lip gloss because he thought she was too young to experiment with make-up, a move typical of the protective role he played.

Shyheim was fatally shot while playing curb ball in a Wilmington neighborhood on Sept. 13. The investigation is ongoing.

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