Breaking: NBA player dies just days after collapsing mid-game


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Zeke Upshaw, who collapsed on the court Saturday during a game in the NBA’s developmental G League, died at a hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Monday morning. He was 26.

Upshaw’s team, the Grand Rapids Drive, issued a statement from Upshaw’s mother, who said her son died at 11:16 a.m. Eastern Time on Monday.

“Our thoughts and prayers extend to the entire Upshaw family during this terribly difficult time,” said Jeff Bower, general manager for the Detroit Pistons, who oversee basketball operations for the Grand Rapids Drive as part of the club’s single-affiliation “hybrid” partnership. “Our organization is focused on providing necessary support for the Upshaw family as well as players and staff of the Grand Rapids Drive.”

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The team also mourned Upshaw’s passing on its Twitter account.

Upshaw was in his second season with the Drive, which is affiliated with the Pistons.

He fell to the floor Saturday night with about 50 seconds remaining in the game. He was taken off the court on a stretcher.

Medical staff rushed onto the court as Upshaw lay motionless.

“I immediately knew it was terrible because he wasn’t moving,” Drive public address announcer Eric Zane said via

WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids reported Upshaw had suffered cardiac arrest and was in critical condition when he was admitted to the hospital.

Upshaw scored 11 points in the game to help the Drive earn it’s first-ever playoff spot with the 101-99 victory in the regular-season finale.

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A native of Chicago, Upshaw played three seasons at Illinois State before finishing his college career with a year at Hofstra University.

Upshaw was passed over in the 2014 NBA draft, so he decided to play overseas, spending one season with Helios Suns Domzale in Slovenia and the next with Basket Esch in Luxembourg.

He was selected by Drive in the fourth round of the G League’s developmental draft in 2016. Upshaw averaged 6.47 points per game for Grand Rapids in 2016-17 and 8.51 this season.

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Scott Kelnhofer is a writer for The Western Journal and Conservative Tribune. A native of Milwaukee, he currently resides in Phoenix.
Scott Kelnhofer is a writer for The Western Journal and Conservative Tribune. He has more than 20 years of experience in print and broadcast journalism. A native of Milwaukee, he has resided in Phoenix since 2012.
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