The Antonio Little memorial basketball tournament is coming to the UW Health Sports Factory on August 12th. It's an important event for Little's South Beloit basketball family.
Sobos boys basketball went 28-2 during the 2008-2009 campaign. Mat Parker coached that team, and he wanted to bring the guys back together.
"The idea was we were going to have a Sobo basketball reunion."
Antonio Little was a key member of that historic Sobos squad, but he never made it to the reunion.
"Antonio was on that planning committee. During the planning for that Sobo reunion was when he passed away."
Parker changed course to celebrate one of his former players.
"It naturally morphed into a three on three tournament we had in my driveway."
Two years after Little's untimely death, his Sobos family is holding a fundraiser in his honor.
"Actually I feel like this is something he would've wanted us to do regardless of the situation or how you may feel," said Little's Sobos teammate Katonka Friar. "Anything like that, he wanted to keep it about the people and the children."
Little was passionate about others, and his on-court craft, which he took seriously.
"He had a poor free throw shooting game. Which was very rare for him," Parker recalls.
"Getting close to 10, 10:30 at night, and he's still in the gym shooting free throws."
Little's leadership helped mold a lasting bond for that South Beloit team.
"That year established a brotherhood among friends," says Friar.
"A great kid, a great leader. Awesome smile that would light up a room, and we really miss him," says Parker.
Antonio Little's legacy will live on.
"With us being able to do this, it keeps his name alive, it keeps opportunities in the community alive," said Friar.
"He has a young son. We want his son to know his dad was a great guy," said Parker. "People still care about him. Hopefully one day his son can participate in the tournament as well."
This August, South Beloit invites its Northern Illinois neighbors to celebrate a man who is gone in body, but alive in mind, and in spirit.