WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- NBA G League’s Grand Rapids Drive forward Zeke Upshaw died Monday, two days after he collapsed on the court near the end of a game against Long Island Nets.
- Upshaw, 26, was rushed to a hospital where a Kent County medical examiner has determined he suffered from cardiac arrest.
- The Drive, affiliated with the NBA’s Detroit Pistons, released a statement saying that Upshaw had a “warm personality and was a tremendous representative of our organization both on and off the court.”
Zeke Upshaw was on defense on Saturday night’s game. The Drive just came out of a timeout with 49 seconds left in the game when Upshaw collapsed while chasing a Long Island player across the court. Moments later, the video feed of the game showed Upshaw lying on the floor, face down. A referee immediately stopped the game and within seconds, the Drive medical staff were at his side.
The Drive tweeted a statement from Jewel Upshaw, Zeke’s mother, telling her son died Monday morning after “continued efforts from the medical team at Spectrum Health” in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
“To family, friends, teammates, coaches, fans & confidants, thank you for your prayers and support during this most difficult time,” Jewel Upshaw wrote.
The Detroit Pistons held a moment of silence before their home game Monday night against the Los Angeles Lakers in Upshaw’s memory. The G League postponed the start of its playoffs, moving the conference quarterfinal games set for March 27 and 28 to March 30 and 31.
Malcolm Turner, G League’s president, said the league was “devastated” by the death of Upshaw.
“Zeke was an outstanding young man whose powerful belief in himself and uncommon perseverance led to a successful professional basketball career. 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,” Turner wrote in a statement.
Upshaw scored 11 points in Saturday’s game where the Grand Rapids won 101-99. The Drive secured a spot in the G League playoffs. The Drive will face Toronto affiliate Raptors 905 in a single-elimination playoff game on Friday at Mississauga, Ontario.