The "black" weekend of August
The 16th and August 17th are two of the most "black" days in the history of the NBA, as two talented players lost in a bad way their lives.
If someone could delete 16th and August 17th of the calendar, then surely the fans of NBA would have no problem whatsoever. These two days, you see, is one of the most "black" in the history of the league, as two young and talented athletes died in an unfair and ugly way. The two names are Nick Vanos (unknown to the general public) and Eddie Griffin.
The fatal flight 255, Northwest Airlines
Vanos, 24 year old, center of Phoenix Suns paid in the worst way a trip to Detroit on Aug. 16, 1987. He was at "Motor City" to visit the parents of his girl, though the plane that was returning him in Arizona has never taken off. Of the 157 people on board, 156 (110 were citizens of Phoenix) died, except for a four year old girl who survived the terrible crash.
Vanos had 2.18 height was selected at number 32 of the Draft in 1985 (immediately after Manute Bol) come from a good season with the University of Santa Clara. In rookie season he played poorly because of an injury, underwent surgery on the knee and then refused to play in Italy. In the second season returned back and the last 10 games of the season had an average of 7.8 points and 8.2 rebounds.
However, fate played a bad game. Flight 255, Northwest Airlines was destined to become the second deadliest in U.S. history and Vanos was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Even today, 25 years later, this incident is shocking and no one knows what would have become the career of the young talented center if the tragic accident was avoided.
The shocking death of Eddie Griffin
Twenty years after the crash of Detroit, another talented player in NBA died. The case of Eddie Griffin is even more sad. The 25 year old forward has ignored the evening of August 17 road signs, broke a barrier, entered the railroad tracks and was run over by passing train. His car caught fire and the identification of the remains was made through dental examinations, before it becomes known that he had consumed a large quantity of alcohol.
Griffin had become Draft by the Nets at No. 7 in 2001, but moved that evening by exchange to Rockets. The talented forward facing serious alcohol problems and missed the entire 2003-2004 season because it was admitted to rehab.
Timberwolves gave him the opportunity to return to NBA and he grabbed it, but got released again in March 2007. Since then, friends and acquaintances have lost all contact with him, to learn his tragic death in August of that year. In 303 games he managed to play in NBA, was averaging 7.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.7 block per 22 minutes of participation.