Former NBA Player Dwayne Schintzius Dead at Age 43 After Leukemia Battle

Alex Kay@AlexPKayCorrespondent IApril 16, 2012

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It's sad to learn that Dwayne Schintzius, a former NBA player and University of Florida basketball star, was reportedly found dead on Sunday afternoon, according to Michael DiRocco of ESPN's GatorNation. He was 43 years old.

The Tampa, Florida native had been battling with complications from a bone marrow transplant to combat his chronic myelemonocytic leukemia. The cause of death was reported to be respiratory failure.

This is a shame and the basketball world lost a great talent with his passing. 

Schintzius was listed at 7’2”, 260 pounds during his playing career and attended UF to play basketball from 1987-1990. He holds the school record for blocked shots with 272 and that really showed how talented he could have been had he been able to stay healthy in the NBA.

He left the team to turn pro 11 games into the 1989-90 season after quarreling with coach Dan DeVoe.

The San Antonio Spurs still decided to choose Schintzius No. 24 overall in the first round of the 1990 NBA draft. His upside was incredible and he could have been a real great.

He lasted one season there before getting traded to the Sacramento Kings.

Dwayne bounced around the league for the next couple of years, dealing with injuries and inconsistency, but he was a popular player with the fans. He made a hilarious appearance as a Russian baller in the 1996 comedic film Eddie

Schintzius retired from top-flight professional basketball in 1999 after 16 games with the Boston Celtics. He would later attempt a comeback and spent one season with the Mobile Revelers of the D-League in 2001-2002.

Perhaps more than his on-the-floor performance, Schintzius was recognized for his mullet.

He nicknamed his haircut “The Lobster” and it got him in trouble quite a bit.

After the Spurs selected him in the draft, then-GM Bob Bass decided he hated the hair and told him to cut it.

Schintzius obliged and decided to put the shavings into an envelope and sent it to Bass. He was traded shortly after in a move that may be related to the hair. 

Unfortunately, the big man was diagnosed with leukemia in November of 2009. He fought valiantly against it and was thought to be cancer-free in July of 2010.

This shocking relapse occured in early 2012 and efforts to save him were not successful. It's a terrible day for those who knew and knew of this great player.