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G-League Player Dies After Saturday Collapse

Jason Scott

Zeke Upshaw, of the NBA G League’s Grand Rapids Drive, died Monday following his collapse on the court in the waning moments of a game on Saturday night.

MLive.com reports that Upshaw, a second-year player with the Drive, collapsed with about 40 seconds remaining in Saturday night’s game against the Long Island Nets.

Upshaw was tended to by medical staff, who took him off the court via stretcher. He was transported to a local hospital in critical condition.

The Drive issued a press release on Monday afternoon, attributed to Upshaw’s mother, which read:

“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 all your prayers and support during this most difficult time.”

Both the Drive and their NBA-affiliate franchise the Detroit Pistons issued statements within about 20 minutes of each other, each pledging support for the family.

Grand Rapids TV station WOOD reported that Upshaw's death was a result of sudden cardiac failure. Kent County medical examiner Dr. Stephen Cohle described Upshaw's heart as "slightly enlarged."

"I think he died a sudden cardiac death," Cohle said.

Upshaw’s collapse occurred in the Drive’s regular season finale, a game they won to secure a berth in the playoffs. The Drive will wear a commemorative patch during their playoff run to honor Upshaw.

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