Perrin Smith: Popular young man loved people, basketball

AAU program to memorialize former player

"Why does it have to happen to a kid like that? I said I don't know, we don't know, but I'll tell you this, you have to enjoy life and you have to keep doing what you love to do." - Alex Meachem, AAU Shining Stars President

CINCINNATI - A freak accident caused a young man's death during a pick-up basketball game.

Perrin Smith may be gone, but his love for people and the game is not forgotten.

"He had an infectious smile," said his basketball coach, Alex Meachem.

"I think about his smile," said Mona Morrow, a family friend.

Smith scored with that smile in life and his love of basketball.

"Regardless of whether he's playing a lot in a basketball game or he's not playing a lot," Meachem said.

"He's the kid that was the standout in any class, you wanted your child to be friends with," Morrow said.

"The kid was always smiling and it makes other people smile," Meachem said.

Smith's love for people and life was experienced at 9 On Your Side in 2007 when he worked as a sports intern.

He died this year in North Carolina after a freak basketball accident. He was 24.

Smith slammed into a wall, crushing his spine. 

Hundreds of friends from grade school to WCPO attended his memorial service.

Smith's mom wanted Meachem, president of AAU Shining Stars Basketball, to keep his name in the game.

"The first thing we're going to do is create an award that is presented to one of our players every year, and it's going to be called the Perrin Smith Smile Award," Meachem said.

"To continue the legacy of young people in youth basketball," Morrow said.

The award will go to the player with a great attitude, regardless of skill, to the student who exemplifies Perrin Smith's qualities.

"You just have to keep doing what you love to do," Meachem said.  "Perrin couldn't have done anything different. He went to a basketball court, played basketball like he does everyday, and it was just an accident that happened."

The Shining Stars will also create a scholarship in Smith's name.

It will pay for the player's fees and some traveling expenses that could cost up to $2,000.

Smith's mom will help decide the recipients of each award.

RELATED: Watch video tribute to Perrin Smith

RELATED: Learn more about Perrin Smith on his Facebook page

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