Zeke Upshaw, a 26-year-old player for the Grand Rapids Drive of the NBA G League, died on Monday after he collapsed to the floor during a game on Saturday night.
There was less than a minute remaining in the Drive’s game against the Long Island Nets when Upshaw collapsed on the court at DeltaPlex Arena in Michigan. The basketball player from Chicago, who played for Illinois State before transferring to Hofstra University, was taken off the floor on a stretcher after going into cardiac arrest, according to Michigan Live.
Upshaw’s mother, Jewel Upshaw, announced the heartbreaking death of her son through a post on the team’s Twitter account on Monday.
“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,” the statement reads.
“We ask that you respect our privacy at this time. Details of his memorial will be announced at a later date,” the statement continues. “We’d like to thank the many doctors and nurses at Spectrum Health for their efforts in caring for our son. We’d also like to thank the Grand Rapids Drive for the support they have extended to our family.”
This season was Upshaw’s second with the Drive (an affiliate of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons), and the team released a statement just minutes after his death was announced Monday morning.
“The Drive family is mourning the tragic loss of Zeke Upshaw,” the statement reads. “He had a warm personality and was a tremendous representative of our organization both on and off the court.”
According to Fox News, Upshaw scored 11 points on Saturday night, which helped the Drive secure a playoff spot. Upshaw’s coach at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Troy Caldwell, told Michigan Live that Upshaw was a promising player who was dedicated to the craft.
“Beyond the best basketball player that I ever had, but he became the face of our basketball program and embraced it,” Caldwell told the news outlet. “Hard worker and extremely talented and he always understood the work that had to go into being a talented basketball player.”