OAKLAND -- Olajuwon Clayborn was named after an NBA star, and it was his dream to one day play professional basketball and make enough money to move out of Oakland and take his mother with him.
Clayborn wasn't a star player at Castlemont High School, but he was a computer whiz, a good student and a funny, social teen who was preparing for a rite of passage -- his senior prom, this Saturday.¿
Instead, his mother is making funeral preparations this week after her beloved 17-year-old son, one of her three children, was shot and killed Sunday night.
"He was my hilarious child," his mother, Yolanda Christopher, said Tuesday afternoon. "He was a mama's boy. He was always joking, laughing and talking."
On Sunday night, police said Clayborn and a 22-year-old Oakland man were standing on the sidewalk outside his home on 86th Avenue and Dowling Street talking to a girl when the gunman walked up to the two and shot them both.
Clayborn's brother drove him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 10:26 p.m., police said. The injured man, whose name was not released, was treated and released.
The gunman ran away and remains at large. Police said they don't have a motive, and no arrests have been made.
For Christopher, Sunday had been a wonderful day spent with her youngest child buying a new suit for his prom.
The youngest of three siblings, the teen was named after former NBA star Hakeem Olajuwon. He played basketball in summer leagues as a youngster and most recently for Castlemont. He had transferred there from Berkeley High this school year, said Oakland school district spokesman Troy Flint.
"(Basketball) was his life," his mother said, adding that she wouldn't let him play if he didn't do well in school.
"One of the reasons he wanted to play in the NBA was to make a lot of money to get me out of Oakland," she said.
After he was shot, he made it back to his house, where his mother saw what had happened.
"My whole body just got numb," she said. "I was jumping and screaming. I just got numb."
His brother rushed him to a hospital; Olajuwon's head slumped on his brother's shoulder as he sat, mortally wounded, in the car.
The killing was Oakland's 34th homicide of the year.
"I'm very angry. I'm very emotional. The person who did this needs to give themselves up," his mother said. "I lost a life. (The shooter) needs to (spend) his life in jail. Justice needs to be served."