Zeke Upshaw, a player for the Grand Rapids Drive of the NBA’s developmental G League, died Monday morning in a Michigan hospital, two days after collapsing on the court during a game.
“After continued efforts from the medical team at Spectrum Health, Zeke made his transition at 11:16 a.m.,” his mother, Jewel Upshaw, said in a statement released by the team Monday afternoon. “To family, friends, teammates, coaches, fans and confidants, thank you for your prayers and support during this most difficult time.”
Upshaw, who was 26, “was transported to Spectrum Hospital after collapsing on the court in the closing seconds” of the game, the team said in a Sunday statement. Sarah Jbara, a spokeswoman for the team, told mlive.com that Upshaw was taken from the court on a stretcher.
“The entire Grand Rapids Drive family is mourning the tragic loss of Zeke Upshaw,” Steve Jbara, owner of the Grand Rapids Drive, said in a statement. “Zeke had a warm personality and was a tremendous representative of our organization both on and off the court. Grand Rapids was fortunate to be the benefactor of two seasons of Zeke’s commitment to the youth and non-profits within our community. Our thoughts are with all of Zeke’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
Current and former teammates of Upshaw’s expressed shock and anguish on social media over the weekend and on Monday.
“Heart broken,” wrote Dan Muller, the Illinois State head coach. “Life is not fair. Zeke was a wonderful man.”
“I come to you today asking for direction in such a confusing time Lord!!” wrote Jordan Crawford, a former teammate.
The Drive is an affiliate of the Detroit Pistons in the developmental G League.