Kevin Durant's Close Friend Cliff Dixon Shot, Killed During Birthday Celebration

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2019

Memphis forward Tarik Black (10) shoots defended by defended by Western Kentucky forward Cliff Dixon (5) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010, in Memphis, Tenn.  (AP Photo/Nikki Boertman)
Nikki Boertman/Associated Press

Cliff Dixon, a close friend of Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant, died early Thursday morning after being shot in metropolitan Atlanta, Asia Simone Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Chamblee (Georgia) Police spokesperson Michael Beller said Dixon was at the SL Lounge celebrating his 32nd birthday. Beller also said Dixon had just arrived prior to the shooting.

Billy Kobin of the Louisville Courier Journal reported Dixon was a former Western Kentucky basketball player. Burns added that Durant calls Dixon his "adopted brother."

Dave East, a rapper who played AAU ball with Durant and Dixon, wrote about Dixon's death on Instagram (warning: link contains profanity).

"I Can't think of no memories with @easymoneysniper or @tdurant And u wasn't there," he posted. "We been cool since like 16-17 years old."

Durant mentioned Dixon during his speech accepting the 2013-14 NBA Most Valuable Player award, per the San Francisco Chronicle's Connor Letourneau:

The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry described Dixon as a member of Durant's "clique" and somebody whom Durant's mother, Wanda Pratt, "took in" when he was 16 years old.

"They did their part in just making this thing roll," Durant said of his group of friends that included Dixon, per Mayberry. "Because it's tough living in this lifestyle, playing in the NBA, traveling so much, having a lot of money. It's tough to really grasp at a young age. And they helped me out with it since Day One."

Dixon joined Western Kentucky ahead of the 2009-10 season as a transfer from Hutchinson Community College in Kansas and played two seasons for the Hilltoppers.

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