INDIANAPOLIS — Over 50 of Jessica Brown’s relatives, friends and well-wishers visited Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday to cheer Brown on during the Indiana All-Star basketball team’s battle with Kentucky.
And while Brown was grateful for the support, the Mt. Vernon graduate’s thoughts drifted most often to one family member not in attendance as she started at point guard for the Indiana girls.
Don Brown passed away on Jan. 10, 2011, midway through his granddaughter’s junior season, just a few months before she was named to the Indiana Junior All-Star team — a precursor to this year’s ultimate honor.
There was no bigger supporter of the Indiana-Kentucky high school series than Don Brown, Jessica said. At one point, he attended the contests for 30 straight years.
“He was a huge fan of the All-Star games,” said Brown, bound for Indiana Wesleyan this fall. “He went to the games in Kentucky. He went to the games here (in Indianapolis). He just loved it, and to have his granddaughter out there, I think he would have been pretty proud.”
Don Brown would have been 74-years-old Saturday. In the All-Star game program, the Brown family purchased an ad wishing Jessica good luck, with the special inscription: “Happy Birthday, Papa! We miss you!”