Zeke Upshaw of the NBA G-League’s Grand Rapids Drive died Monday, two days after collapsing during a game against the Long Island Nets at DeltaPlex Arena in Michigan.
Drive spokeswoma Sarah Jbara said via MLive.com that Upshaw tumbled to the floor Saturday night with about 50 seconds remaining in the game. He was removed from the court on a stretcher and taken to Spectrum Health, where he was later pronounced dead.
The team released this statement from Upshaw’s mother, Jewel:
“After continued efforts from the medical team at Spectrum Health, Zeke made his transition at 11:16 a.m. To family, friends, teammates, coaches, fans and confidants, thank you for your prayers and support during this most difficult time.”
G-League president Malcolm Turner called Upshaw a “beloved” player.
“Zeke was an outstanding young man whose powerful belief in himself and uncommon perseverance led to a successful professional basketball career,” Turner said. “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.”
Upshaw, a 6-6 Chicago native, was in is second season with the Drive. He went undrafted following three years at Illinois State and one at Hofstra. In addition to the Drive, Upshaw’s professional career also included stints in Slovenia and Luxembourg. He was 26.