UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. - Walking into the gymnasium, the sense of community, friendship and fellowship was overwhelming. 12 basketball teams from the Seattle/Tacoma area competed in a two-day tournament in memory of a man who loved the game of basketball.

Nearly a hundred civilians, Soldiers and their families gathered at the first Anthony Brock Memorial Basketball Tournament September 3-4 at Curtis High School for some friendly competition and to honor the memory of a Soldier, a husband and father whose life's passion was playing basketball.

First Sgt. Anthony Brock, an Army Veteran, last assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, NC, passed away at the age of 42 in March, 2010. He died of heart complications sustained during a basketball game at Fort Bragg. He is survived by: Wife, Beverly; daughters, JaLeesha, Jonee and De'Jiah; son, Anthony II; sister, Felicia; and brother, Christopher.

Brock coached and mentored hundreds of young people throughout his 24-year Army career. During the time he served on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, he left lasting and life changing impressions on the lives of many people through his excellent sportsmanship while playing the game of basketball.

Marcus Warren, an Army Veteran and promoter of the tournament, played basketball with 1st Sgt. Brock during the time he was stationed at JBLM.

"I played with Brock during so many different events. His love for the game was second to the love I saw him show his family. He was an older guy who was my mentor. Our relationship developed through the game of basketball," said Warren. "I miss him, but I always say, 'He went doing the thing he loved, playing basketball.'"

Warren had a mere month to plan, advertise and put on the first Anthony Brock Memorial Basketball Tournament. He visited with basketball teams in Seattle, Tacoma, Bremerton, JBLM, Lacy, Olympia and Lakewood to ensure the tournament effectively honored his friend and mentor. He plans on making the tournament an annual event.

"Being the tournaments first year and with such short notice during Labor Day weekend, I am really impressed by the turnout," said Warren. "I want to ensure that this becomes an annual event for the Seattle/Tacoma area."

Not only did Brock touch the lives of many young men, he was also role model for a young woman who loves the game. Jackie A. Thomas, an athletic advisor at Curtis High School, is a basketball enthusiast and coordinated the logistics of the tournament.

"I had known Anthony Brock since I was 14 years old. I am all about giving back and making sure that those who were influential to me are remembered," said Thomas. "He was such a passionate player, always the gentlemen and showed uncommon sportsmanship toward his opponents. He was a man who was a master at balancing family, friends, and community."

Brock's daughter JaLeesha Petty, a student at Central Washington University, lives in the Tacoma area and attended the tournament in memory of her father. The two-day tournament shows that those who have passed can continue to live in the hearts and memories of the people they touch during their lives.

"I am extremely happy to see this tournament in honor of my father," said Petty. "This tournament has made me realize that he touched a lot of lives of a lot of people through basketball. Basketball was his life."

Of the 12 teams competing, over 60 percent of the team members were soldiers. Ultimately, two semi-professional teams from Seattle took the tournament's trophies. The Seatown Ballers won the tournament and Club Seattle came in second place.

Page last updated Thu September 8th, 2011 at 00:00