NBA Rumor: Sean Rooks Death

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One ex-player who took advantage of the screening was Cherokee Parks, who had surgery to repair an aortic valve in 2013 and is a proponent for comprehensive health care for former NBA players. The issue for many ex-players who did not get lucrative contracts may not only be lack of attention to potential health issues, but the inability to afford quality health care if problems are discovered. “It’s unfortunate that we’ve had fatalities to bring all of this stuff to the surface, but quite frankly it’s bad,” Parks said. “We all prepared to get to the NBA since we were 12, 13 years old, and basically when you get to college and you play in the NBA, you’re babied. You’re shown what doctors to go to, don’t pay for anything, you go in there and when you get the results back, you don’t even get the results, they all go to your team physician.”

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Parks said Rooks’s death has had a profound effect on a lot of players from his generation. “I think with Sean Rooks, maybe it was the final straw right there,” Parks said. “Players leaving the league after a certain number of years should have full health coverage for the rest of your life. And the league should be able to put the funds together where they can maintain and say, ‘Hey you’re 40, go get a CT scan. At 45, you should be getting this blood work done.’ We’ve been babied for so long, you are just really learning at 35 how to take care of yourself for the first time on top of how to pay for these things. For me right now, it’s a major part of my life.”

For many former NBA players, it’s not only overeating that may cause heart issues, but chronic physical issues may prevent the ability to work out. Former NBA sharpshooter Tracy Murray, who underwent the screening, said a recent hip replacement prevents him from playing basketball as he once did. He has to find creative ways to exercise. “Things that you could burn off back in the day, you can’t burn off anymore,” Murray said. “When we were younger we were taught how to eat when we got [to the NBA]. That excludes all the stuff that you really like to eat, like soul food or pizza, and when you’re done [playing], No. 1 you don’t want to run anymore for a while and No. 2, I want to eat whatever I want to eat and the end result of that is you start gaining weight. It’s best to stay on top it.”

In a statement to The Undefeated, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver expressed his sadness over Rooks’ death while pointing to the league’s developing health maintenance focus: “Like so many members of the NBA family, I was deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Sean Rooks. Sean was beloved around the league as a friend and a coach, and he was an important mentor to many young players. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with his family. His tragic death due to heart disease is yet another reminder of why cardiac health and screening remains an extremely high priority for the league, the Players Association and the Retired Players Association.”

The first of these screenings was held in Orlando, Florida, on June 21 and the next will be in Detroit on Friday. According to the Orlando Sentinel, nurses drew blood to measure HDL, LDL and triglyceride levels, and echocardiograms and carotid artery ultrasounds were also performed. A cardiologist was also on hand for the 15 retired players who attended. Former NBA center Kevin Willis told The Undefeated: “I’m glad the union did that. They’re trying to take it to the next level.”

Golden State forward-center Marreese Speights took somber notice of Rooks’ death and is familiar with the trend of former NBA big men dying from heart complications. The 6-foot-10, 255-pounder believes that today’s NBA players are blessed with state-of-the-art evaluations before every season to ensure their hearts are fit. “Nowadays they do a lot of testing before you get on the court,” Speights told The Undefeated. “They give you a stress test and all kind of other things to make sure everything is right with your heart. They can find out anything they want today in this league. Back in the day when those guys were playing, they probably never had any of that stuff, so they probably never knew.

As rookies came into the league, Rooks took them under his wing, offered them guidance, encouragement and direction to navigate this new world of pro basketball. Keyon Dooling was one of those rookies in 2000. He was one of four first-year players on the Los Angeles Clippers, while Rooks was the second-most experienced. Rooks stepped up as a shoulder to lean on. “He was like the big uncle,” Dooling told CSNPhilly.com. “We had a difference of age, but he really showed us the way.”

Charlotte Hornets General Manager Rich Cho released the following statement regarding the passing of former NBA player and coach Sean Rooks. “The Charlotte Hornets were deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Sean Rooks last night. Sean not only had a solid NBA playing career, but also had been working tirelessly on honing his craft as a coach. Recently, we entered into negotiations with Sean to be the head coach of our D-League team, the Greensboro Swarm. When talking with Sean, you immediately understood why he was so beloved by teammates, coaches and those that worked with him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sean’s family and friends during this time.”

Marc J. Spears: Sixers coach Brett Brown statement on the passing of Sean Rooks. The following is a statement from Philadelphia 76ers Head Coach Brett Brown, who is currently in Istanbul, Turkey, regarding the untimely passing of Sean Rooks: “I learned of this tragic news in the early morning hours last night. Sean Rooks was a wonderful person with a kind soul who deserved to live longer than he did. Sean was with me for two years and helped our young players and coaching staff by sharing his experiences in such an endearing way.
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February 1, 2023 | 10:34 am EST Update

Sixers looking for a big?

With Montrezl Harrell’s defensive issues and Paul Reed not yet earning the trust of the coaching staff, sources say the Sixers would be open to bringing in another big even if they don’t move one of Embiid’s current backups.  It’s the easy place for your mind to drift, but former Sixers big Andre Drummond is an example, if a high-end example, of the sort of player we could be talking about, a big-bodied player and strong rebounder in the more traditional school of bigs.  (Naz Reid is a hot player in the rumor mill around the league, though I think he skews more toward the Harrell style of bigs and wouldn’t expect him to be in the mix for Philly.)
The other big roster need, one I was slightly surprised to hear the Sixers are prioritizing, is at the backup five position. It has been a sore spot for the franchise in the Embiid era, and remains one again this season. Philadelphia already has three nominal bigs on the roster, including star center Embiid, but sources say they would be interested in acquiring a safer/more traditional backup to Embiid for certain matchups in the playoffs.
It’s no guarantee the Raptors decide to move on from Siakam that soon. From a team perspective, it would certainly be comforting to see both Siakam and Barnes, fairly similar players, thrive offensively at the same time. For his part, Siakam isn’t the type to get involved. “Out of my control. Focus on what I have every single day, work with what I have, help wherever I can,” Siakam said of the trade rumours surrounding his team, and whether he wants this version of the team to stay intact. “That’s it. Out of my hands. It’s out of my control, so I have nothing to say about it.”
Don’t expect the big swing at the NBA trade deadline that mortgages any of the future for the present. But if the growth of the Thunder’s young core and the parity of the conference keeps that playoff door ajar, they’ll gladly walk right through. “Coach challenged us at the beginning of January,” Muscala said. “He said, ‘Hey, this is when a lot of teams are in the quote-unquote ‘dog days’ of the season. There’s kind of a tendency to let down. Let’s really challenge ourselves to be in the moment, do the little things, take care of our bodies, do skill work. It’s shown this month.”
Jeremy Schaap: Our interview with @MeyersLeonard , the former Portland and Miami center who is hoping to return to the NBA. Nearly two years ago, he used an antisemitic slur while playing Call of Duty on Twitch. A warning–this story includes offensive language.