Former Indiana University basketball player Neil Reed, arguably most famous as a key figure in the firing of controversial coach Bob Knight, died Thursday according to sources close to the family.
Reed died of a massive heart attack after collapsing in his Nipomo, California home, reports FoxSports. He was 36-years-old.
Neil Reed played for three seasons under coach Bobby Knight, and was the individual choked by Knight during a practice caught on tape in 1997. Before playing for Indiana University, he played high school basketball in Metairie, La. He played under Knight, who was infamously known for his short and furious temper. The video of Reed being choked by the coach later became public as Knight’s tumultuous career in Indiana was coming to an end, reports the Washington Post.
Though Reed accused coach Knight of attacking him in 2000, the coach’s firing wasn’t exactly what Reed had in mind. “Believe it or not, I’m not happy that Indiana fired coach Knight,” Reed told ESPN at the time. “I don’t have any feelings about it, mostly because I’ve had to stand alone for so long. In a way, I’ve been proven right, but that doesn’t make my life any easier.”
After transferring to Southern Mississippi following the incident with coach Knight, he reportedly “fell out of love” with basketball. “Maybe that was coach Knight’s fault and maybe it was partly my fault,” he said. “But if I can handle what I’ve been through, then I know I can handle what lies ahead.”
Reed is survived by his wife, Kelly, and two daughters, Marley and Presley, reports ABC.
Here’s the infamous ’97 video of coach Bobby Knight choking the late Neil Reed:
[iframe src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/fm3YFFjj5y8″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>