NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Dean “The Dream” Meminger, who played a key role on the Knicks’ 1973 NBA championship team, was found dead Friday in a Harlem hotel room. He was 65.
Staff at the Hamilton Heights Hotel found Meminger just before noon Friday unconscious and unresponsive inside a room, and emergency medical personnel pronounced him dead, police said. There were no signs of trauma, and the cause of death has not been determined, said police, who are still investigating.
The New York Post, citing anonymous sources, reported that Meminger might have died of a drug overdose. He was found with “white stuff oozing out of his nose,” a source told the newspaper. Meminger was wearing his championship ring when his body was discovered.
“We want to thank everyone for their prayers and condolences during this difficult time for our family,” Meminger’s family said in a statement. “Dean ‘The Dream’ Meminger touched the hearts of so many on and off the basketball court. Through basketball and education, he helped countless people around the country receive scholarships, high school and college admissions, and even employment.”
Meminger’s son, also named Dean, is a reporter for NY1.
A point guard, Meminger averaged 6.1 points in six seasons with the Knicks and Atlanta Hawks. A former New York City prep star at Rice High School, Meminger led Marquette to a 78-9 mark in three varsity seasons, averaging 18.8 points. He averaged 21.2 points as a senior in 1970-71 and was drafted 16th overall by the Knicks.
Meminger had short coaching stints with the New York Stars in the Women’s Basketball League, the Albany Patroons in the CBA and the Long Island Knights in the USBL. He coached Manhattanville College in 2003-04.
“Everyone at the New York Knicks’ organization is saddened to hear the news of Dean Meminger’s passing,” Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald said in a statement. “From the day he was drafted by this franchise in 1971, Dean was a friend and close family member of this team. On April 5, 2013, the 1973 world championship team was honored at Madison Square Garden on its 40th anniversary. There was no one prouder than Dean to be back on the court with his teammates. We send our heartfelt condolences to the entire Meminger family.”
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