The NBA community is mourning the passing of former player and league executive Lance Blanks.
Blanks died Wednesday in Dallas, according to a release from the NBA. He was 56 years old.
Drafted out of the University of Texas in 1990, Blanks played three years in the NBA with the Detroit Pistons before continuing his career overseas.
Upon his retirement from the sport, he turned his attention to finding the next crop of basketball stars, spending several years as a scout with the San Antonio Spurs before moving into an executive role as assistant general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers and general manager of the Phoenix Suns. Most recently, Blanks worked as a scout for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Lawrence Frank, the Clippers’ president of basketball operations, released a statement following news of Blanks’ passing in which he said the team was blessed to have him in the organization and said the team was devastated to learn of his death.
“He was a tremendous father, son, teammate and colleague, with an infectious personality, a kind heart and a boundless love of the game. Lance was a creative thinker and an insightful evaluator who lifted our entire organization. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and many friends,” Frank wrote.
Blanks also spent time as a consultant to the NBA, working with its Basketball Without Borders programs in Africa, South America and Europe. He was also involved with the Nigerian National Team in the 2020 Summer Olympics, a team coached by current Sacramento Kings head coach Mike Brown, who worked under Blanks as a member of the Cavaliers.
The Texas Men’s Basketball program, where Blanks starred in the late ’80s, posted a tribute to Blanks on social media. “Our family has lost a true Longhorn legend,” the school wrote. Blanks is among the Longhorns’ all-time leaders in career steals, and minutes and points per game.
Joe Dumars, 6-time NBA All-Star and current executive vice president of the NBA, called Blanks a “a light for all those who knew him.”
The two were teammates in Detroit and Dumars described him as one of his closest friends.
“You will be dearly missed, brother,” Dumars said.