BALTIMORE — Baltimore is mourning the loss of legendary basketball player and comedian Gerald Brown, who was shot and killed in the city over the weekend. The 34-year-old father of two grew up in the city, and he did sketch comedy and volunteered to coach basketball after becoming a legendary player in the city.
"Gerald is a legend in Baltimore City on a number of levels," said friend Donnel Dobbins.
Dobbins, known as Coach Mookie, grew up playing basketball with Brown. As he stood on the UA House basketball court, he recalled all the times Brown was there with him, playing pick up or helping coach Team Thrill, which Brown's son was on.
"His role is to get the boys turnt up before the game, and he does that great," said Dobbins, who is the program director for Team Thrill.
He says Friday, Brown was at the UA House downtown before riding with a friend to a barber shop in Northwest Baltimore. It's the last place he would go. His truck still parked in the court's back lot.
Baltimore Police say he was shot and killed on nearby West Forest Park Avenue just after 8 p.m. Dobbins got the call and headed straight to the hospital to be with Brown's family.
"I was shocked," said Dobbins. "I just can't see anything he would have done to deserve this; the type of person he was."
He says Brown was a star on the court who went on to play for Providence and Loyola as a two-time All-MAAC guard from 2006-08.
"We extend our heartfelt condolences to Gerald Brown's family and pray for them during this time. Gerald was a prominent member of our men's basketball team and was one of the top players in school history. Gerald's infectious smile and outgoing personality will not be forgotten by those who knew him," said the Loyola Men's Basketball team via Twitter.
"He was always a hometown favorite, so when he went to Loyola, the games were more packed than they normally would be because people went to see Gerald play," said Dobbins.
But Dobbins says his legacy goes well beyond his ability on the court.
"Gerald had a gift and believe it or not, it wasn’t basketball," said Dobbins. "His charisma and his affect on other people was way more monumental that his basketball game."
He was a passionate father to his two kids.
"Gerald loved his children and he instilled a lot of good things in his kids that I’m sure they will carry along as they grow into their own," said Dobbins.
He went by GeeSongz on social media, made viral videos and did sketch comedy.
"His gift was the ability to make people feel good when they necessarily didn't want to feel good. I know he did that for me a lot. He made me laugh when I didn't want to laugh," said Dobbins.
It's those laughs he says are getting him through the pain.
"When I get sad, I think about all the laughs that I've had so it's hard to be sad thinking about him," said Dobbins. "He just loved life, and he would encourage everybody else to do the same."
Employees at the barber shop in Northwest Baltimore are planning a vigil and cookout to honor Brown on Sunday, Father's Day.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Baltimore Police Department’s Homicide detectives, at 410-396-2100. Those who wish to remain anonymous can utilize the Metro Crime Stoppers tip line, at 1-866-7LOCKUP.