Ex-New York Knicks standout Dean “The Dream” Meminger was discovered dead in his hotel room Friday of a possible drug overdose. He was 65.
He was found unconscious inside his New York City hotel room by staff members after he failed to check out. He was pronounced dead at the scene by authorities. There were no signs of trauma, but a witness allegedly saw “white stuff” oozing out of his nose, reports TMZ.
Dean “The Dream” Meminger was a first round draft pick back in 1971, and went on to play for the Knicks’ 1973 NBA title team. He was also known for his speed, and aggressive skills honed by years of playing in the Harlem playgrounds.
“By the time I was 18, I was considered a ballplayer by the other dudes in the park,” he once recalled. “They were 23, 27, 35 years old, but I could participate. It’s very rugged out here. It’s more physical than the NBA.”
He went on to become an all-American guard at Marquette, and was named MVP of the 1970 N.I.T. He played three seasons with the Knicks before trading for two with the Atlanta Hawks. The then returned to the Knicks in the 1976-77 season. His career average was 6.1 points per game.
But unfortunately, Meminger had struggled with substance abuse and drug addiction during his career and long after. As recently as 2009, he was critically injured in a four-alarm fire in a Bronx building where he was allegedly smoking crack.
Speaking on drug addiction with the New York Times in 2003, he gave an explanation for his substance abuse.
“Once I left basketball I used to medicate that pain, ache, emptiness — at least that was my perception,” he said. “I isolated my family, alienated my kids.”
Dean “The Dream” Meminger’s family released a short, simple statement following news of his death. “We want to thank everyone for their prayers and condolences during this difficult time for our family,” they said.