Up-and-coming rapper Young Dolph, whose real name was Adolph Robert Thornton Jr., was shot and killed inside a bakery in Memphis last Wednesday.
Young Dolph, 36, had built friendships with a number of current and former athletes—including Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders.
Following Thornton's death, Sanders, who is still recovering from a recent hospital stay as a result of complications following foot surgery, gave an emotional speech to his players about the fragility of life. He then held a moment of silence in honor of Thornton.
"We lost a warrior today man. We lost a true dog. We lost someone's father, someone's son, someone's man, someone's friend, some of y'all's friends and some of y'all's homies in Young Dolph, man.
The game right here of life is real, man. Not everyone's happy about your success. Not everyone's happy about your come-up. Not everyone's happy about your prosperity and how you walk, talk—even you carry yourself. Even what we're doing here. Not everyone's happy about that.
So understand your environment and who you're around and be cautious and be careful about that, man. Do not take nothing and nobody around for granted. We lost a good one today, man. I knew him personally. Who had so much love and compassion—and the way he came in and embraced all y'all and treated y'all like y'all was homies man. So let's have a small moment of silence."
Less than one month ago, Thornton was in Jackson State's locker room celebrating with the team after a big victory.
Sanders has led Jackson State to a 9–1 record this season and is starting to get looks from bigger programs that might want his services.
Jackson State will take on Alcorn State in its final regular season game Saturday afternoon.