G League player Zeke Upshaw dies at age of 26 after on-court collapse

Upshaw collapsed during Grand Rapids' game vs. Long Island on Saturday

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Drive today mourns the passing of forward Zeke Upshaw. The 26-year-old passed away earlier today at Spectrum Heath with family by his side.

Upshaw collapsed to the court with 40 seconds remaining in the Drive’s victory over Long Island on Saturday night and was transported to the hospital. With privacy and respect for the Upshaw family, no other medical information will be disseminated.

“The entire Grand Rapids Drive family is mourning the tragic loss of Zeke Upshaw,” said Steve Jbara, owner of the Grand Rapids Drive. “Zeke had a warm personality and was a tremendous representative of our organization both on and off the court. Grand Rapids was fortunate to be the benefactor of two seasons of Zeke’s commitment to the youth and non-profits within our community. Our thoughts are with all of Zeke’s family and friends during this difficult time.”

NBA G League president Malcolm Turner released the following statement regarding the passing of Upshaw:

“The NBA G League family is devastated by the tragic passing of Zeke Upshaw. Zeke was an outstanding young man whose powerful belief in himself and uncommon perseverance led to a successful professional basketball career. A beloved member of the Grand Rapids Drive, Zeke’s continuous improvement and tireless work ethic were hallmarks of his career. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends and the Drive organization.”

Upshaw was a two-year player for the Drive, drafted in the fourth round of the G League’s Developmental Draft in 2016. Undrafted by the NBA, he previously played overseas before joining the Drive. Upshaw appeared in 41 games with the Drive this season, averaging 8.5 points and 2.3 rebounds in 19.8 minutes per game. The Chicago native played collegiately at Illinois State and three seasons at Hofstra where he averaged 19.8 points and 4.8 rebounds during his senior season (2013-14).

“Our thoughts and prayers extend to the entire Upshaw family during this terribly difficult time,” said Jeff Bower, General Manager for the Detroit Pistons, who oversee basketball operations for the Grand Rapids Drive as part of the club’s single-affiliation “hybrid” partnership. “Our organization is focused on providing necessary support for the Upshaw family as well as players and staff of the Grand Rapids Drive.”