Zeke Upshaw died Monday, just two days after he collapsed while playing in a G League game for the Detroit Pistons affiliate Grand Rapids Drive.
Upshaw, 26, died at the hospital Monday, but the cause has yet to be revealed. The player was taken off the court on a stretcher and to the hospital after collapsing with 40 seconds left in a game against the Long Island Nets, MLive.com reports.
The Drive released a statement from Upshaw’s mother, Jewel Upshaw, following the death of her son Monday.
“After continued efforts from the medical team at Spectrum Health, Zeke made his transition at 11:16 a.m.,” she said in the statement. “To family, friends, teammates, coaches, fans & confidants, thank you for your prayers and support during this most difficult time.”
5 things we learned about the Greek Freak in ’60 Minutes’ segment
The Drive also released a statement of their own Monday.
“The Drive family is mourning the tragic loss of Zeke Upshaw. He had a warm personality and was a tremendous representative of our organization both on and off the court,” the statement read.
Many NBA players, including Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade and Timberwolves forward Karl-Anthony Towns, tweeted their condolences following the loss of the young player Monday.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the Upshaw family and friends,” wrote Pistons player Stanley Johnson.
Knicks’ Trey Burke coming into his own but future role is unclear
NBA G League president Malcolm Turner also released a statement about the loss of Upshaw.
“The NBA G League family is devastated by the tragic passing of Zeke Upshaw. Zeke was an outstanding young man whose powerful belief in himself and uncommon perseverance led to a successful professional basketball career,” Turner said in a statement.
“A beloved member of the Grand Rapids Drive, Zeke’s continuous improvement and tireless work ethic were hallmarks of his career. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends and the Drive organization.”
In college, Upshaw played three seasons at Illinois State before spending his senior year at Hofstra during the 2013-2014 season. That year he led the Colonial Athletic Association with an average of 19.8 points per game.
With Mudiay on the bench, Burke lifts Knicks to win over Wizards
Upshaw was in his second season with the Drive. He scored 11 points to help the team clinch a playoff spot with a 101-99 win on Saturday.
Drive president Steve Jbara told MLive.comthat the team will continue to play in the postseason and will wear a “Zeke” patch to honor its fallen teammate.
“They want to play, they want to play to remember him,” Jbara said. “I think they all were trying to wrap their heads around what Zeke would want and they all came out that they wanted to play, play hard and give it their best shot.”
With NEWS WIRE SERVICES