FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – One of the newest members of the Purdue Fort Wayne Men’s Basketball team, Damian Chong Qui, has overcome some of life’s toughest obstacles back in his hometown of Baltimore by finding a way out through Division I basketball and a college education.
However, what’s most important to the Summit City hooper is the relationship he shares with his father. Damian’s father, Edward Chong Qui explained the tight bond as unbreakable.
“Father first, friends second. There’s nothing we wouldn’t sacrifice or do for each other. If it’s going to help.” Edward said.
“Me and my father are real close, like, we’ll talk three the morning, we’ll talk middle of the early morning, afternoon. It doesn’t matter. If we feel like talking, we’re going to talk.” Damian added.
The main reason behind their tight bond is because for the last 19 years of Damian’s life, it’s been just the two of them. When he was four, Damian’s mother was murdered.
“We’ve been through a lot, like I got shot. January 13 2002. His mother got killed a month later.” Edward said.
From then on, the two grew closer and closer by finding a common love on the basketball courts.
“When my mother went, it was me and my father. We were in gym all day, every day.” Damian said.
For Damian, it was a distraction. But for his father, it was a way to instill some of life’s principles.
“It was really never about basketball, it was about you know, being a person, being a man and basketball was the tool we used to get him engaged, but it’s really about you know, how to survive, be respectful. And how to treat people.” Edward said.
It’s hard enough dealing with the loss of one parent, but at the age of 12 Damian almost had to go through the heartache again when his dad was shot for the second time.
“He was shot outside, in like, in our neighborhood, and he’s been paralyzed ever since.” Damian said.
“Crazy thing is, the guy that was standing next to me, that I was talking to, they killed him a couple months later, so I feel like it was meant for him. I just was in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Edward added.
The event changed both of their lives forever.
“It changed my life like completely, you know, I went from like, you know, a kid to like almost like an adult. I mean, of course he was my father but you know, a lot of stuff I had to do to take care of him was like me being the parent and him being the child. So it was almost like a flip of roles in a way,” Damian said.
As much as Damian supports his dad, his dad is right there doing his part when Chong qui plays, not missing a game for almost his entire life except when Covid-19 kept fans out of the arenas. But now that fans are back, so is his dad, getting to watch Damian play for the first time as a PFW Mastodon.
“It means a lot to me to be at the games, and I think it means a lot to him to you know, I drove 10 hours to be here today. That’s something I wouldn’t do for anybody else.” Edward said.
Damian could have went down a totally different path but saw basketball and and education as a way to cope and stop the cycle.
“The way you respond to adversity really defines who you are as a person and I always want to be the guy that no matter what is going to get up. You got to decide who you want to be. Just embrace your journey embrace your life. Embrace everything that comes with it. Because you’re blessed every day you wake up.” Damian said.
“He motivates me just as much as I motivate him. Damian saved my life. I’m very grateful for it. Even though my situation, I’m still happy to be here and able to see what he’s accomplished and what he can accomplish and what he’s going to accomplish.” Edward added.
An unbreakable bond, bound together by basketball.