As a young child, Kierra Moore was so drawn to basketball that she insisted on playing with older children.
“She would come to her older brother’s training and say, ‘I want to play.’ And I would say you’re not old enough, ”said Arlena Wade, who coached the brother and went on to coach Moore at Michele Clark Academic Prep Magnet High School.
“I play! I play!” Moore would say, according to Wade. “She did this until she was old enough to play.”
Born and raised in Cabrini Green, Moore has shown incredible promise. “She was destined to go to WNBA,” her older brother Jaden Knox said on Friday.
The 16-year-old was shot and killed Thursday night while standing with a group of people in Lawndale. Police said the shots came from a black car passing around 11:30 p.m. in the 3100 block of West Polk Street.
Moore was shot several times and died in Mount Sinai Hospital. Police did not report any arrests.
Her brother remembered Moore Friday as “a fun loving and joking person” who was inseparable from his twin sister.
“She loved her twin more than anything,” Knox said. “They did everything together. They were never separated once, unless she was with me.
After the demolition of Cabrini Green, Moore’s family moved to nearby townhouses where they played one-on-one games with her brother on the courts.
“She could do things that I couldn’t – right-handed and left-handed,” Knox said. “She was my right arm. We played video games together, we played basketball. I taught him the rules of the game.
Between trips with her brother downtown for athletic shoes, she would talk about basketball, her team to Clark, and her education. “She loved Michele Clark. She always said, ‘I want to go to school, I can’t wait to play basketball,’ ”her brother said.
“She always told me she wanted to take her team to at least one championship. This year was supposed to be the year she would bring her team to the championship, ”he said. “I told him, you already know that I come to every one of your games until the last.”
Clark’s head coach Wade called Moore “the life of the team … a great player” who averaged about 15 points per game.
Captain of her high school team, Moore was a joker but was also passionate about the game, whether it was because of a bad call or the jersey number she wore. A teammate still remembers when a referee called a foul on Kierra. “She’s gone crazy and difficult with the ref,” said Tajiuna Cooper. “She always did what she wanted.”
Moore’s energy motivated the team and tied them together, Cooper said. “She was not just a teammate but a family.”
While Moore had a tough exterior, she was “gentle on the inside,” assistant coach Sayisha Pendleton agreed.
“No matter how tough she seemed, she was a gentle giant,” Pendleton said. “She couldn’t live without her team, and they couldn’t live without her. She was an important part of the basketball team.
Moore’s brother said he will always remember his sister’s “golden smile”.
“When the team was down, they brought them up,” Knox said. “Everyone loved him.”