by Carla Crawford
Many patrons poured into Arts, a popular bar located on the corner of 29th and 10th in the Strip District on the night of Nov. 4, for their usual midweek social gathering. For the family and friends of Anthony Rivers, AKA Greyhound, whose life was abruptly taken violently on the streets of Garfield in the early morning of Aug. 5, 2008, the night was all but usual.
After leading his team to victory in the 2008 Connie Hawkins League Championship Game, Anthony Rivers was robbed and brutally murdered. Jason and Vaughn Rivers, Anthony’s brothers, spearheaded this gathering in order to celebrate what would’ve been their brother’s 28th birthday.
In past years, the three Rivers brothers had always celebrated together in this manor, and in Anthony’s absence have vowed to continue to do so in his memory.
Among those in attendance were members of the Connie Hawkins League and PSU alumni and teammates who played alongside the Greyhound on the basketball court. Allderdice head basketball coach Andre McDonald and his staff were there. Also present were members of H.A.W.K.D., and The None In The Chamber Organization, founded by Jason Rivers and friends after his brother’s death to combat violence in the streets of Pittsburgh and surrounding areas.
Members of the Rivers family expressed how comforting it was to see everyone coming together in love to celebrate, remember and grieve the life of Anthony Rivers. Throughout the night they laughed, danced, and cried, reminiscing on the days and times of old. Desiring to capture their celebration and its precious moments, they snapped picture after picture. Many held up peace signs and the No. 3 worn on the jersey of Anthony Rivers which was retired in a ceremony held at Penn State University.
Nikki Pelegrini, a first cousin of Anthony attended the party wearing a sweatshirt she’d made for the occasion. The sweatshirt drew the attention of many as it displayed a huge bright orange basketball on the front and a verse from a poem written for Anthony encased in angel wings on the back. Others showed their love for Anthony by tattooing their arms with Anthony’s picture, jersey number or name accompanied by the abbreviations R.I.P.
As two o’clock approached for the family it was like reliving the moments when they first said goodbye. Smiles became tears as they remembered the sobering thought that as they were celebrating his life as it was, it was, no more. For them, “gone too soon” would always be a pill so hard to swallow. “The night was peaceful and full of family, friends, laughter and love, which is what I’d hoped it would be, in tribute to Anth,” said Jason Rivers.