Appoquinimink and St. Georges Tech boys basketball teams in the SL24 Memorial Classic to help people struggling with depression Feb. 8

Sean Locke played basketball from the time he was 4 years old.

He played in high school for Saint Mark’s where he was homecoming king his senior. He went on to join the University of Delaware Blue Hens where he faced off against Michigan State in the March Madness tournament and was team captain his senior year.

Unknown to his friends and family, he also struggled with anxiety and depression. In July 2018, Sean died by suicide at 23 years old.

Sean’s father Chris Locke spoke at the St. Georges Tech-Appoquinimink boys game Jan. 28. He said the last year and a half have been difficult, but he started a foundation to help people who are struggling not have the same fate as his son.

“At [Sean’s] viewing and funeral, about 4,000 people attended. So many of them said, ‘How could this happen? Why did this happen?’” he said. “If it can happen to Sean it can happen to anyone.”

In honor of Sean Locke, Appoquinimink and St. Georges Tech teams will be among 12 boys and girls teams in the second SL24 Memorial Classic hosted by UnLocke the Light Feb. 8. 

Sean’s father Chris Locke founded SL24: UnLocke the Light in 2019 to provide resources for high school and college students struggling with depression, self-injury and suicide, especially athletes.

The first SL24 classic — standing for Sean Locke No. 24 — raised $208,324 to open Sean’s House, a center in Newark to educate and help those battling depression and suicidal thoughts,  by September 2020, Chris Locke said.

At the St. Georges versus Appoquinimink boys basketball game Jan. 28, Chris Locke said his son wore No. 24 for Kobe Bryant, Sean’s favorite basketball player. 

Bryant died in a helicopter crash Jan. 26 along with eight other people, including his daughter Gianna. 

“This was particularly personal for me,” Chris Locke said. “When I heard about Kobe’s death and the terrible accident, it shook me. It brought me back to my raw emotions of losing Sean.”