MONTEREY PARK (CBSLA) — Authorities are offering a $20,000 reward for information in the unsolved murder of a well-liked East Los Angeles Community College basketball player.

Saieed Stecoo Ivey was found shot to death early June 9, 2016, in a friend’s Mercedes parked behind his apartment complex in Monterey Park. Ivey and his friends had been celebrating his 20th birthday just hours earlier.

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“Although it’s been a couple of years, it still feels like yesterday to me,” his mother said at a news conference. “It’s a cut I don’t think I’ll ever be able to heal from.”

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Ivey had come to Los Angeles from Chicago to pursue basketball. He was well liked by his teammates and came up coined the acronym “FINAO” for “failure is not an option.” The acronym now graces a Nike basketball shoe in honor of Ivey.

Saieed Stecoo Ivey was found shot to death June 9, 2016. (credit: CBS)

Detectives say Ivey had left his birthday celebration with his friend’s car keys to meet someone and never came back to the party. The reward, half from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and half contributed by Ivey’s family and friends, is being offered to help drum up leads.

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Anyone with information about Ivey’s murder can contact the Los Angeles County sheriff’s homicide bureau at (323) 890-5500 and ask for detectives Gus Carrillo or Adan Torres. Anonymous tips can also be made by calling 1 (800) 222-TIPS (8477).