Local basketball teams come together on one court to mourn two tragic losses

Fans wear pink shirts

SPOKANE, Wash. — Thousands of fans remembered NBA legend Kobe Bryant by wearing yellow jerseys. In Spokane, fans wore pink and white on Friday for their own reasons. 

The boys basketball game between Lewis and Clark and Ferris High Schools provided a moment to honor two lives taken too soon. 

Dressed in white, players and fans paid their respects to Kellen Erickson, a recent Ferris grad and former basketball player who was killed in a car crash last week. 

Down the court, Lewis and Clark players and families donned pink. 

“Her nickname was Suzie Sunshine,” said assistant C-Squad coach Mike Kelly. 

There was a moment of silence as Kelly spoke about his wife of 40 years. 

“I practiced this all night last night and all day today,” said Kelly. “Initially I cried in about the first paragraph.” 

Sue was diagnosed two years ago with breast cancer. In August, she beat it. 

“We were going to go to Greece this Spring, we were just starting to do the retirement thing,” said Kelly. 

That moment of happiness and relief only lasted five days.  

“We were on the beach at Lincoln City and she texted our daughter Bryn about how peaceful it was on the beach, and she had a heart attack,” said Kelly. “It was pretty tragic. It was pretty horrible.” 

Kelly says his wife would want people to do three things: Volunteer for the Cancer Association, get educated about the disease, and donate money to research. 

That’s exactly what fans did at Friday night’s game. The school collected hundreds of dollars. 

Despite the pain in people’s hearts, the game still played. Players and parents realizing every day is a gift, with only so much time to make the most of it.   

A funeral for Kellen Erickson will be held Saturday. His family has asked people to donate to the Hilinski Hope Foundation or the Higher Ground Animal Sanctuary in his honor.