Wayde Sims was just a young kid enjoying his Thursday evening before his life was consumed by basketball as the LSU basketball team was scheduled to begin practicing the next day. Then at approximately 12:25am Friday morning, everything came to a screeching halt. One of Sims’ friends was involved in a heated altercation and Sims stepped in to defend him. A fight ensued and a single shot rang out. When Dyteon Simpson decided to draw his weapon and fire, I wonder if he considered the ramifications of his actions. A near campus altercation ends up in the loss of two lives.
When I first heard of the incident, my mind immediately shifted to a similar situation. I thought of Ben Wilson. Although the circumstances were slightly different (Sims was murdered at night after a party while Wilson was killed during the school day) they still share many parallels that continue to echo throughout these types of scenarios. Now that the video has surfaced of the incident, I’m sure Sims will be portrayed in an unfavorable light for being involved in a fight. I’m not an advocate of violence but I’m not naive. If you’re out with your friends and a fight breaks out, you’re going to get involved. Sims got involved and it cost him his life. I hope the fact he chose to come to the defense of his friend won’t be used to “justify” his murder. Wilson’s murder was viewed as an unspeakable tragedy and I hope Sims will continue to be looked at in the same vein. I am being completely presumptuous in this regard but I have seen this play out many times. I hope that those in the media are responsible and considerate in their reporting as details continue to come out in regards to this unfortunate incident.
While Wilson’s star shone more brightly than Sims in regards to basketball, they were both well liked and heralded as good kids off the court as well. Wilson was the best player in the country heading into his senior year of high school. Sims was heading into his junior year of college and looked poised to play a major role for the Tigers. Both were cut down prematurely. Both never had the chance to fulfill their immense potential. Both were gunned down by people who had no regard for life.
The LSU family was rocked to the core by Sims’ death just as the Simeon family was by Wilson’s 34 years ago. Another family has to mourn a son. Sims’ father, Wayne Sims, also played at LSU and was looking forward to seeing his son come into his own at the same university he played. He was robbed of that. Wayde Sims was robbed of a career he worked extremely hard for. After a less than stellar freshman year, he worked hard to get in better shape and get stronger so that he could compete in the SEC. His sophomore season was better as he posted career highs in almost every statistical category and now in his junior year, it looked as if he would be an anchor for the Tigers program. Unfortunately we will never see the fruits of his labor fully manifest. Prayers are definitely going out to the Sims family and the LSU community as well.