Anderson’s ‘Extreme’ Story Had This Reporter Boohooing Like A Baby

By Gregory Moore
Updated: July 6, 2005

The story of Rodney and Monique Anderson is one that had even this staunch veteran reporter crying like a baby.

The story of Rodney and Monique Anderson is one that had even this staunch veteran reporter crying like a baby.

SAN ANTONIO – This past Sunday I was watching the ABC show, ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ with my cousin and we both started to cry like crazy when we saw the story on Rodney Anderson. Who is Rodney Anderson? Anderson was a star basketball player at Cal State Fullerton on a meteoric rise to the NBA when he was shot five years ago in the neighborhood where his parents lived by gang members thinking he was a rival gang member. The episode on the show was a two part deal that showed how Anderson and his family was living after the accident and what the finished product was when the design team for the show completed their task.

Once you grasped the full story of how Anderson ended up paralyzed, how his family went through further struggles, how his fiancé but now wife stood by him and how the school, Cal State Fullerton, honored him with a jersey retirement, you can understand why two grown men started to cry. Anderson was a victim of a senseless crime wave that cuts down members of their own society. Black on Black crime is something that the African American community has had to deal with for years and it continues to plague the community because gang members and other crime segments have no regards for their targets. For Anderson, when he was almost fatally shot on March 7, 2005 by Curtis Vaughn Jackson because of what Jackson thought was a reminder that violence has no stop button, just an on button.

The phrase of “sorry you’re the wrong guy” resonates when I read that’s how Jackson explained why Anderson was shot. What is truly amazing however is the fact that despite all the hardships that Anderson and his family went through, they are testaments to believing in faith and are truly deserving of the lovely homes that the Extreme Makeover built for them. As a matter of fact Anderson should have his bachelor’s degree from CSU as you read this and that is a very good thing for him and his family. But what of all of this violence that seems to take out our promising athletes?


I cannot get over why gang members think that certain colors or clothing attire is attributed to one sect or the other? In Anderson’s case he may have put on a hooded sweatshirt and went for a walk only to be gunned down by a coward. Let’s face it folks if somebody shoots you in the back, they are cowards. Shooting people in the back is the coward’s way of not wanting to take responsibility if you are identified. But here’s where I have a problem with the gang bangers. Many of them target athletes because of jealousy, prestige or whatever idea may be floating in their heads. For what reason? Can anyone who is in that lifestyle explain to me why taking out an athlete makes you feel like a man?

These crimes tear at the fabric of this community because so many feel helpless in trying to stop the violence. Anderson wants to help at-risk youth and kudos goes out to him for taking on such a tough task in his physical condition. But then again this shouldn’t be a task that is hard for him. The whole concept of working with these kids is to help them get a better grasp of life and the reality that’s in front of them. Anderson’s story could actually be beneficial to the task his taking on. But what of others who could be helping save such a child from falling into the traps of gang violence? Where are the individuals who could help save these young kids from becoming statistics in their own right?

INSPIRATION FROM ANDERSON’S STORY TRULY HEART FELT After watching Sunday’s Extreme Makeover episode, I wanted to do a piece on him, his progress and something that could help us all try to understand why gang violence takes out ‘the good ones’. Before this story became solid in my mind, I contacted a couple of friends and asked them if they thought it was a good idea. Anderson’s story is something that should be told in this medium because like myself, nobody heard of the story until this past Sunday night. This is a story that needs to be told because it needs to be a part of a systematic reminder that something like the tragedy that almost took a promising young man completely off of God’s planet could happen to anyone.

I am truly hoping that Rodney Anderson gets to fulfill his professional dream of helping kids after a coward took away his basketball aspirations with the pull of a trigger. For him and his wife, Monique, heartfelt prayers go out to them from this writer and a sincere thank you to them for allowing America to see their plight, their struggles and their dreams coming true in a two-hour program. If this young man and his family can endure and make dreams come true for themselves and others, then surely we can reach out and do the same. After all this mighty Titan from South Central Los Angeles had everyone in a cry fest with his story; including two Texans who couldn’t hold back the waterfall. Continued success Rodney Anderson and God’s speed on continuing to reach out to others in your life’s quest to help those who are at-risk.