Former UCLA basketball player Billy Knight found dead

Former UCLA basketball player Billy Knight found dead

Authorities say former UCLA basketball player Billy Knight has died in Phoenix.

The Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office hasn’t released a cause of death.

Phoenix Police Sgt. Vince Lewis says Knight’s body was found along a road near a construction site.

No evidence of foul play was found.

Phoenix police say Knight’s body was found on a roadway early Sunday near downtown and there was no evidence of foul play.

Knight, 39, played at UCLA from 1998-2002, averaging 14.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game as a senior. The Bruins went to the NCAA tournament all four of Knight’s seasons under coach Steve Lavin, reaching the regional semifinals in each of his last three years

“Our hearts are heavy after learning Billy Knight has passed away,” UCLA said in a tweet on its basketball account.

He wasn’t picked in the 2002 NBA draft and played professionally in France and Japan.

Knight was a basketball operations assistant for the Northern Arizona Suns of the developmental G League in the 2016-17 season. The team is affiliated with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Northern Arizona Suns officials issued a statement Tuesday evening saying they were “deeply saddened by the passing.”

A day before his body was found, Knight recorded a chilling video on YouTube which he titled “I am Sorry Lord.” In it, he says, “I am lost in life and I feel like there is no hope … I just feel like I can’t continue on.” He urges people who have problems like his to get help.

Knight’s death is the second one of a former UCLA player in the past week, following Tyler Honeycutt, who died Friday after barricading himself inside his home in Sherman Oaks, Calif., of what police said appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Former UCLA basketball player Billy Knight found dead

About Billy Knight

William R. Knight (born June 9, 1952) was an American former professional basketball player and executive who most recently served as the Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Basketball Association’s Atlanta Hawksfrom 2003 to 2008.

Early life and college 

Knight was born and raised in Braddock, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh, where he attended General Braddock High School- Member of the 1970 Section High School Basketball Champions – General Braddock Falcons

University of Pittsburgh 

A 6’6″ guard/forward, he then attended the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), where he starred, and along with Mickey Martin and Kirk Bruce, Knight led the Panthers to the East Regional Finals in the 1974 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, where they lost to eventual NCAA Champion |North Carolina State], in a matchup between Knight and NCSU’s David Thompson. The game was played in Raleigh, North Carolina. NCSU went on to defeat UCLA & Marquette for the National title in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Knight’s performance during the 1973–1974 season, in which Pitt went 25-4 and won a school record, 22 games in a row, earned him 2nd team All-American team status. He was considered one of Pitt’s best players ever and was voted to Pitt’s all-time starting five.

Knight had his number 34 jersey retired by the University of Pittsburgh on February 20, 1989. 

Professional career 

Knight spent eleven seasons, from 1974–85, in the ABA and NBA as a member of the Indiana Pacers, Buffalo Braves, Boston Celtics, Kansas City Kings, and San Antonio Spurs. He scored 13,901 points in his ABA/NBA career and appeared in two All-Star games.

Knight’s best years were with the Indiana Pacers, after being selected by both the Pacers and the LA Lakers in the player draft. Knight was voted 1st team ABA All-Star for the 1975–1976 season, his second year in the league after averaging 28.1 ppg. This was the last year of the ABA before the Indiana Pacers merged into the NBA. The following year Knight maintained All-Star status, this time in the NBA after averaging 26.6 ppg. After a brief stint with the Buffalo Braves & Boston Celtics, Knight returned to the Pacers in 1978, where he continued his career with them until 1983.

Knight was the Indiana Pacers 3rd all-time leading scorer and was in several other Top 5 all-time categories for the Pacers.

Prior to joining the Hawks organization in 2002, Knight worked as a front office executive with the Pacers and the Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies.

On May 7, 2008, Knight stepped down as Hawks GM. When announcing his resignation from the team he stated that he had left the Hawks “in much better shape than it was in when I took over.”

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