New York Knicks’ forward Cleanthony Early was shot in the knee outside of a Queens strip club as he was leaving the premises early Wednesday morning, the New York Daily News is reporting.
The Daily News’ report states that Early was “surrounded by four to six people wearing ski masks and robbed of his items and jewelry — including a gold necklace and gold caps on his teeth.”
— NY Daily News Sports (@NYDNSports) December 30, 2015
Early was likely celebrating the Knicks’ 108-96 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday. While the team left Madison Square Garden victorious, Early only played in 29 seconds of the game without contributing any points, rebounds, or assists. The Bronx, New York, native was leaving Cityscapes gentlemen’s club on 58th Street in Maspeth, Queens, when he was shot outside the venue, the Daily News added.
When he was leaving the strip club, Early was not taking his own vehicle but rather an Uber cab, per the Daily News. It was at that point when “three cars boxed in the vehicle,” stranding Early from going to his intended destination. As mentioned, Early was shot in the knee, just once, as the culprits took off with Early’s belongings.
He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in Queens in stable condition. The gunshot wound was not ruled life-threatening, and Early should be able to return to the court at some point in the future.
The Knicks issued a statement on the matter via Twitter.
“We are aware of what occurred with Cleanthony Early this morning and are relieved that he is not in a life-threatening situation. We will not comment any further until we receive more information.”
Drafted out of Wichita State in 2014, Early played in 39 games for the Knicks last season, averaging 5.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 16.6 minutes per game. But this season, Early has only played in 10 games for the Knicks, averaging less than four minutes and one point per game.
Entering this season, Early revealed to the New York Post that he had taken up yoga once again to help him with his conditioning and preparation for the season.
“Going into a new situation, you know it’s more physical, but you don’t know how physical it is until you get there. You know it’s fast. You don’t know how fast until you get there. I wouldn’t say it took me by surprise. I knew it’d be fast and knew things I had to learn. But I thought I had enough of an estimation or guess of how fast it would be. It was a little bit faster than that.”
As Early begins to think about healing and getting back on the court, this incident has not been the first involving a current Knicks player. Athletic forward Derrick Williams made headlines recently after two women he brought home from a night of partying robbed him of over half a million dollars worth of jewelry.
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) December 24, 2015
The two women pictured above in the surveillance video allegedly stole over $670,000 worth of jewelry from Williams. Other reports stated that the value of the jewelry stolen to be in excess of $750,000. According to New Net 5, some of the items that were stolen from Williams’ apartment included a $50,000 Rolex watch and three diamond rings.
Per the ABC 7 Eyewitness News report above, Willaims has not garnered much in the way of sympathy with the robbery, as residents believe he should have made better decisions considering his status as a wealthy athlete in New York City.
NYPD officials are calling the two women “persons of interest” at this point as they have yet to identify them.
Prayers are with the Knicks organization as the team and the players dealing with these incidents.
[Photo by Image Nick Laham/Getty Images]