Deaths Rumors

Justin Love, Mascoutah basketball head coach, former SLU standout, and former player in Europe died on Tuesday. He was just 41. Per the statement released by Superintendent Dr. Craig Fiegel, Love was found unresponsive on campus. He was rushed to the nearby hospital and later pronounced deceased. He was the head coach of the Mascoutah high school basketball program for the past three years. Following his collegiate career with Saint Louis, Love signed with the Phoenix Suns and after becoming a free agent moved to Europe, competed in China as well.
Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court against the estate of pilot Ara Zobayan and the helicopter company, Island Express Helicopters, on Feb. 24 — the day of Kobe and Gianna’s public memorial at the Staples Center. On Friday, according to court documents obtained by USA TODAY Sports, lawyers representing the Zobayan estate filed a motion to move the trial from Los Angeles to Orange County (or elsewhere), where the defense team believes a fairer trial can take place, despite its close proximity to LA. All of the victims of the crash resided in Orange County.
Storyline: Kobe Bryant Death
Cate Brady, a personal assistant to Bryant, has told National Transportation Safety Board investigators that the NBA legend asked for the doomed flight to be moved forward 45 minutes. Brady said the original flight time for Sunday was 9:45 am, but Bryant had it rescheduled to 9am because he wanted to see another team play before his daughter’s game at a youth basketball tournament. “That particular day, for Sunday, I actually changed the time the night before, probably around 6pm or 7pm,” Brady said. “Because Kobe had decided he wanted to go to watch another team play before his game. “So it was supposed to be a 9:45am departure, but the night before it was changed to a 9am departure.”
Storyline: Kobe Bryant Death
Vanessa Bryant, wife of the late Kobe Bryant, is urging Congress to pass a new helicopter safety bill named for her husband and daughter who were killed in a crash earlier this year. “I strongly urge that the United States Congress pass a federal law that would improve the safety of helicopters operating in this country,” she said in statement. “I believe there is a chance that Kobe and Gianna would still be alive today if their helicopter had been equipped with the safety equipment required by this pending federal legislation.”
Cate Brady, a personal assistant to Bryant, has told National Transportation Safety Board investigators that the NBA legend asked for the doomed flight to be moved forward 45 minutes. Brady said the original flight time for Sunday was 9:45 am, but Bryant had it rescheduled to 9am because he wanted to see another team play before his daughter’s game at a youth basketball tournament. “That particular day, for Sunday, I actually changed the time the night before, probably around 6pm or 7pm,” Brady said. “Because Kobe had decided he wanted to go to watch another team play before his game. “So it was supposed to be a 9:45am departure, but the night before it was changed to a 9am departure.”
Storyline: Kobe Bryant Death
Vanessa Bryant, wife of the late Kobe Bryant, is urging Congress to pass a new helicopter safety bill named for her husband and daughter who were killed in a crash earlier this year. “I strongly urge that the United States Congress pass a federal law that would improve the safety of helicopters operating in this country,” she said in statement. “I believe there is a chance that Kobe and Gianna would still be alive today if their helicopter had been equipped with the safety equipment required by this pending federal legislation.”
The report by the National Transportation Safety Board said Zobayan may have “misperceived” the angles at which he was descending and banking, which can happen when a pilot becomes disoriented in low visibility. “Calculated apparent angles at this time show that the pilot could have misperceived both pitch and roll angles,” one report stated. “During the final descent the pilot, responding to (air traffic control), stated that they were climbing to four thousand.”
He was selected as a territorial pick by the Minneapolis Lakers in the 1955 NBA draft. He spent 4½ seasons with the Lakers before being traded to the New York Knicks midway through the 1959-60 season. He retired after the 1960-61 season and returned to Minnesota to concentrate on his commercial real estate business. He was a four-time (1957-60) NBA All-Star. He was named second-team All-NBA in 1957 after scoring 16.3 points per game.
When Unseld died Tuesday at age 74, the Hall of Fame center who rose to prominence at Louisville’s Seneca High School and the University of Louisville was remembered as one of basketball’s most rugged rebounders and the source of its most lethal outlet passes; comparatively short by the standards of his position, but as solid and as steadfast as an oak. “He was like a big roadblock on the basketball court,” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said on the “Rich Eisen Show” on Tuesday. “He was only like 6-7, 6-8, but you still couldn’t get rebounds over him because he just denied (position) on the court. He was awesome in that sense.”
Storyline: Wes Unseld Death
Tim Connelly: Wes Unseld Sr. was one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. Beyond the gruff voice, vice grip hands, and constant smart comments, lied a man who cared so deeply for his family and his community. Big Wes abhorred the special treatment that often accompanied fame. He treated everyone he came across in such a warm and respectable manner. When I joined the Bullets as an intern in 1996 I both revered and feared Wes, a few days into the job the fear quickly dissipated.
Storyline: Wes Unseld Death
Every personal or professional milestone that I reached included a call to Wes, I wanted his advice and needed his guidance; he was always spot on. There are countless stories that we could all share, most ending with a good laugh and an even better meal. In these crazy times I am hopeful that all of us who were lucky enough to cross his path take a moment to reflect on what would big Wes say and do. He was a man of action. He would never stay on the sidelines. To Mrs Connie, Kim and Wes I’m sorry I’m not there with you guys. Heaven just got a whole lot funnier! Love you Big Wes, Tim

Tales of Mr. Unseld’s toughness and selflessness are legion. His arthritic knees became so bad, he often skipped a week’s worth of practices, as well as pregame warmups, because he could tolerate the pain only for the two hours of game time. Once, he suited up just minutes after having 200 cubic centimeters of fluid drained from his left knee. “The most amazing thing to me is how effective he was with those bad knees,” teammate Mitch Kupchak told The Washington Post in 1996. “Any time he stepped on the floor, whether it was for practice or a game, he was in pain. It wasn’t comfortable for him, but he saw it as part of his job. He knew his teammates were watching him and if he didn’t do it, they might not do it. We always talk about leadership in sports, but you don’t designate yourself a leader. You just lead. That’s what Wes did.”
It took six more years, and a handful of playoff flameouts before the Unseld-Hayes Bullets finally secured the franchise’s first — and still only — NBA title, beating Seattle in seven games in 1978. Before the decisive Game 7, Mr. Unseld, 32 at the time, gathered his teammates in the Bullets locker room. “This is my 10th year, and this might be the last chance I have to win a championship,” he told them, according to The Post. “I just want everyone to know I’ll be there for you today. I don’t care what it is. You don’t have to worry about anything.”

Wes Unseld (1946-2020)

It is with profound sadness that we share that our adored husband, father and grandfather Wes Unseld passed away peacefully this morning surrounded by family following lengthy health battles, most recently with pneumonia. He was the rock of our family – an extremely devoted patriarch who reveled in being with his wife, children, friends and teammates. He was our hero and loved playing and working around the game of basketball for the cities of Baltimore and Washington D.C., cities he proudly wore on his chest for so many years.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 12 more rumors
Then she told a personal story about another star. When her dad, Jerry Buss, bought the Lakers in 1979, they drafted Magic Johnson and became the NBA’s premiere franchise. It ended suddenly when Johnson had to retire in 1991 because of an HIV diagnosis. “I prayed to the skies above and I said if we ever get a player on our team like Magic Johnson again, I will never ever, ever take that player for granted,” Buss said, her voice catching. “And then we got Kobe. As heartbroken as I am, one comfort that I have is that Kobe knew how much we loved him and we told him and we retired his numbers. He never doubted that we were behind him 100%. That gives me some comfort. We never held back the celebrating the greatness that was Kobe.”
Eddie Sutton, who built the University of Arkansas basketball program into a national power and won more than 800 career games as a college coach, has died at age 84. Sutton died on Saturday in Tulsa, multiple sources confirmed to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, after being in hospice care. His death comes less than two months after he was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on April 3.
The Chicago Bulls legend with the steely defense and the hard-nosed reputation walked into Frank Layden’s office, hoping the Utah Jazz head coach would hire him for a scouting job. Layden didn’t know it at the time, but the two would become attached at the hip and lifelong friends and lead a team together that would become one of the standards of small-market NBA franchises. Layden, already legendary in Salt Lake City for the work he had done with the Jazz to that point, could feel Jerry Sloan’s presence. It didn’t take more than a few minutes for Layden to know exactly what he was dealing with. He liked him immediately.
Storyline: Jerry Sloan Death
And that loyalty, all stemming from an initial meeting, it meant everything to Layden, who is an icon himself, still sharp as a tack at 88 years old and very deserving of his flowers while he is still with us. “We lost a giant today,” Layden said. “We were fortunate here. We had a Lombardi type. He always told me that you had to be tough enough to take the losses and the disappointment with the wins. He lived by that.”
Sloan told Layden that day that he was coming to the Utah Jazz to learn from him. Layden told Sloan: “I know. That’s why I’m hiring you.” A few years later, Sloan informed Layden that he would never look for another job, that he would be fine being Layden’s assistant for the bulk of his career. Layden responded by resigning as head coach, taking the job as team president and offering to make Sloan his first hire. Sloan told Layden to slow down, take some time. “Is hiring me what you really want to do?” Sloan asked him. “He actually tried to talk himself out of the job,” Layden said with a laugh. “He was so humble and so appreciative. It was wonderful.”
Storyline: Jerry Sloan Death
Forty-six of his 78 years were in the NBA, where he was a player, a gangly man with dark hair and elbows that busted open noses and a piss-and-vinegar grit that allowed him to climb comfortably under the skin of some of the legends in the game. Legends Sloan, himself, would say he had no business being in the same sentence with, but unfortunately for him, that’s not true. He was “The Original Bull,” selected by the expansion Chicago Bulls way back when, a man whose No. 4 jersey is now retired in the rafters. He was an All-Star, a man who felt like his job was always on the line every night.
Storyline: Jerry Sloan Death
And, of course, there was (and forever will be) the aura of Sloan. The man who so many felt connected to, despite never having shaken his massive right hand. To countless folks, he was a father or grandfather or uncle or family friend who knew basketball, who led their favorite team for 82 games a year for 23 straight seasons. He was the man who called for the “High C” over and over. The Jazz had a stunning 20 straight playoff appearances from 1984 to 2003 and made back-to-back NBA Finals in the late 1990s. Out front of what is now Vivint Smart Home Arena, the men who Sloan helped mold are melded in bronze and frozen in time: Karl Malone is about to drop a nifty hook shot. John Stockton is dishing out what seems to be a patented no-look pass that only his teammates would grab hold of.
Even though Sloan never won a championship — and, incredibly, was never named NBA Coach of the Year — George Karl said he was one of the most gifted coaches he has ever seen. “I’d put Jerry as one of the top three or four all time I’ve ever faced,” said Karl, who sits two spots behind Sloan at No. 6 on the all-time coaching wins list. “His teams were really difficult to play against. They were very tough-minded, very team-oriented. “Jerry would not tolerate a lot of the NBA bulls— that goes on. He was demanding, but respectful. Every Utah Jazz player I ever spoke to had nothing but great things to say about him.”
Storyline: Jerry Sloan Death
Former NBA official Joey Crawford said he warned younger refs that if they decided to slap Sloan with a technical, they should immediately turn and walk away to defuse the situation. “But here’s the wonderful thing about Jerry,” Crawford said. “He’d get mad, but you could go back at him and say a lot of stuff to him, and he would never ever rat you out. You could even curse him out, but he was never going to call the league office the next morning to complain, like some other coaches would. “I had a helluva lot of respect for the man. We all did.”
Sloan reflected the humble, hardscrabble circumstance of his youth, imbued with a work ethic, toughness and pragmatism. He was the youngest of 10 children raised on an Illinois farm. His father died when he was 4, creating more hardships for a family already faced with meager means. They grew and hunted much of their own food. “He lived in as much poverty as any NBA player,” said his late first wife and high school sweetheart, Bobbye.
Storyline: Jerry Sloan Death
In some ways he never fully left that life. Despite fame and million-dollar salaries, he often drove to the arena in an old van, parking it alongside the luxury cars his players drove. Pretentious, he was not. In the offseason he returned to his Illinois farm, rising at dawn each morning to work in the fields in bib overalls or an old Jazz polo shirt. “Nobody does this unless they have to,” Bobbye would tell him. His reply: “It’s cheaper than a psychiatrist.” His old friends said he never changed despite his worldly success.
During his playing career, Sloan collected numerous broken bones, pulled muscles, floor burns and bruises. His nose was broken so many times that he stopped getting it fixed. His elbow required surgery after years of slamming it into the court. He once popped a pelvic tendon, and the noise was so loud that Bobbye ran out of the stands onto the court. “He was in the hospital so many times,” Bobbye said. His knees were drained more than 20 times. He tried to come back from knee surgery for a 12th season, but the damage was too extensive. As Bobbye recounted, “The team physician used to tell him, ‘You know you’re going to pay for this.’”
“Coach Sloan was honest to a fault,” said ESPN’s Marc Spears, who has covered the NBA for two decades. “Once he was comfortable with you, he would allow you inside his amazing basketball brain. I loved his humility. He was a very simple man who didn’t take life too seriously. I really enjoyed looking at my schedule and seeing a game that had the Jazz on it. He was the only head coach that would eat in the media room. “The last time I saw him, I told him how much he meant to me. I relished every moment I was able to spend with him.”
Storyline: Jerry Sloan Death
Alex English: I had an opportunity to play for the Utah Jazz under Jerry Sloan my last NBA season. I opted to go play with the Dallas Mavericks. That was one of the biggest mistakes of my NBA career. I admired Sloan as a player and Coach. He was tough as both, but like Doug Moe he was a Player’s Coach. The Mavericks were going through a tumultuous time in its history, and was not the place for an aging player near the end of his career. I feel with Jerry Sloan at the helm I could possibly have played 2 to 3 more years because he had been a player and knew how to handle the situation. Rest in peace Coach Sloan. The NBA has lost another Legend.

Storyline: Jerry Sloan Death

Storyline: Jerry Sloan Death
Ira Winderman: Pat Riley statement on the passing of former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, “It was a privilege to play against a Jerry Sloan coached team, I always knew that we would be severely tested. His overall philosophy on both sides of the ball was fundamentally solid and always one step ahead of the game. Loyalty was his badge of honor and his no nonsense approach to competition was perfect for the game. Jerry will go down in history as one of the most admired great winners and respected teachers of basketball ever. I am humbled and saddened by his passing.”