The unexpected death of Long Beach basketball legend Brian Camper on Sunday has left the local hoops community in mourning this week, with tributes pouring out on social media for the Lakewood High and Long Beach State star.
Camper was a standout with the Lancers and at Long Beach State, but made his mark off the court as well.
“He was a terrific player but he was a better person, a better father, a better son,” said former LBSU coach Seth Greenberg in a tribute. “He was the most selfless player I ever coached. If you didn’t like Brian Camper, that was your problem–he was a special person who cared deeply about others, and I’m broken today to think of his passing.”
Camper was the best player in a family full of great players. His brothers, cousins, and their progeny have been standout basketball players in the Long Beach high school and college scene since the 80s. Camper played at Lakewood for Tim Sweeney in the late 80s, graduating in 1989 and going on to a college career at Arizona State and Long Beach State. He continued to stay involved in basketball through his family as well as through coaching.
“Hearing this earlier today was gut-wrenching,” said Ronnie Flores of Cal-Hi Sports. “Brian was well-liked and respected by so many in the SoCal high school basketball community. From a terrific hoops family and always had nice things to say about others’ kids.”
“Heartbreaking,” tweeted longtime local hoops guru Frank Burlison. “Sweetheart of a man and a wonderful father. So many memories of him as a player at Lakewood, ASU and LBSU and so many grassroots events. Prayers for his family especially his wonderful sons.”
“I can’t tell you how heartbroken I am to hear of the passing of Brian Camper,” said Sweeney, his high school coach. “I chose the coaching profession to coach student/athletes like Brian. He was always very coachable, a team leader that would do anything to help his teammates become better players, and a ferocious competitor. Brian and I remained close over the years. I followed his progress at ASU and then to LBSU. I also enjoyed following his sons as they walked in their father’s footsteps to reach their goals in life. Brian was a great example for them.”
“At a loss for words to hear about the passing of my dear friend Brian Camper,” said Dave Miller, who coached Camper at ASU. “A great kid that turned out to be an even greater man! Selfless guy that always made others better on and off the court.”
Camper is survived by his mother, Lorraine, as well as his children Josh and Jacob. Details on services are pending and will be posted when available.