Former New Jersey Nets forward Dwayne Schintzius died of respiratory failure following a three- year battle with leukemia. He was 43 years old.
The 7-foot-2, 275-pound forward was diagnosed with myelomonocytic leukemia in 2009. He received two bone marrow transplants from his younger brother, Travis, the most recent in November. He died two days ago at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, Travis Schintzius told the Tampa Tribune.
“He was my big brother and I looked up to him and idolized him my whole life,” Travis told the newspaper. “He’s at peace now. He’s not suffering any more. Now he’s probably cracking jokes and making people laugh in heaven.”
Dwayne Schintzius, who led the University of Florida to its first three National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament appearances, is the only Southeastern Conference player with more than 1,000 points, 800 rebounds, 250 assists and 250 blocked shots. He left the team midway through his senior season in 1989-90 when he decided against cutting his mullet hairdo at interim coach Don DeVoe’s request.
Schintzius was selected by the San Antonio Spurs with the 24th overall pick in the 1990 National Basketball Association draft. He played with the Nets from 1992-95 and also spent time with the Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics during an injury-filled nine-year career.
Off the court, he played a Russian basketball player in the movie “Eddie” starring Whoopi Goldberg and later played himself in an episode of Home Box Office’s cable series “Arliss.”
Schintzius is survived by his brother and by his parents, Ken and Linda.
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