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Former NBA player Jerome Whitehead found dead at 56

Dec 30, 2012, 3:47 AM EDT

JEROME-WHITEHEAD Getty Images

Jerome Whitehead, who stared in college at Marquette and went on to have a 12-year NBA career, has died at age 56.

He was found dead in his home in El Cajon, Calif;, (near San Diego) back on Dec. 20, reports the Chicago Tribune and multiple other outlets. He was discovered by his sister and apparently had been passed away for a little while, according to the report.

An autopsy found that Whitehead had died from a gastrointestinal hemorrhage related to chronic alcohol abuse, an investigator at the examiner’s office said.

Whitehead was a 6’10 center (and occasional forward) who was drafted in the second round of the 1978 draft by the then San Diego Clippers and went on to play for Utah, Dallas, Golden State and San Antonio. He averaged 6.5 points and 4.8 rebounds a game over the course of his career. In the 1981-82 season he averaged 13.8 points a game for the San Diego Clippers.

Whitehead was a key part of Marquette’s 1977 national championship team.

  1. fanofevilempire - Dec 30, 2012 at 7:54 AM

    rip, alcohol kills a lot of people!

  2. bigmeechy74 - Dec 30, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    Who’s gonna be the first person to comment “thoughts and prayers to the whitehead family” to troll for thumbs ups? I’m waiting….

    • slowclyde86 - Dec 30, 2012 at 12:27 PM

      How bitter must someone be to post something like this? Sad.

    • Kansachusetts - Dec 30, 2012 at 12:31 PM

      Thoughts and prayers to the Whitehead family.

      And bigmeechy74 can shove it.

      • bigmeechy74 - Dec 30, 2012 at 2:48 PM

        Prayer: The act of doing absolutely nothing and making yourself feel better instead of actually doing something to help.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Dec 30, 2012 at 7:03 PM

        meechy, many of us agree with your views on the value of prayer. Now let’s discuss the topic of good manners. Most of us would consider it poor manners to toss such views into a discussion of a man’s untimely death, preferring to offer our ideas on religion in a forum on, say, religion.

    • davidly - Dec 30, 2012 at 9:42 PM

      It’s the “[trolling] for thumbs up” part that misses the mark. It may be true from a conceptual standpoint that the traditional nature of various forms of prayer–both in the religious and metaphysical senses–leans upon volume to redistribute energy. But most theologians will tell you that “trolling”, as it were, is self-defeating. Such an ostentatiously motivated display is discouraged in Judea-Christian and Gnostic texts.

      Now I don’t believe in god, ghosts or devils or the afterlife. But I do know that the power of positive thinking serves to alleviate pain both physical and emotional (hence, not just prayers, but the secularly inclusive formulation: thoughts and prayers). Also, rigorously conducted scientific experimentation has revealed a correlation between mass-focused concentration and perceived individual human agency.

      Even as an atheist, I would not discourage anyone from the palliative benefit of focused inner dialog, and since at this stage of human development, prayer is the second most likely arbiter of this dialog, to mock it is simply foolish, both socially and scientifically. Not to mention it reveals the mocker as a butthole.

      So a big thought-out goes to Jerome Whitehead and those who will miss him.

      • bigmeechy74 - Jan 1, 2013 at 12:38 PM

        Not true. The largest study ever on the subject dealing with prayer for hospital patients showed that not only did it not help, but the people that were prayed for actually fared slightly worse.

    • florida727 - Dec 31, 2012 at 12:15 PM

      Congratulations #bigmeechy74. You win “Idiotic Post of The Year”. I’m sure your parents are proud. Find out for sure. Run upstairs and ask them.

      • bigmeechy74 - Dec 31, 2012 at 9:03 PM

        It’s not idiotic. People say “thoughts and prayers blah blah” to feel good about themselves. Do you really think typing that does anything for the whitehead family? Wow you are naive. Nice try though. I guess you aren’t a very deep thinker otherwise you would be able to admit that i’m right.

      • don444 - Mar 29, 2013 at 8:24 AM

        Wow, what a dumb thing to being arguing about. All of you who decided to partake of that issue on this message board are idiots, plain and simple.

    • davidly - Jan 1, 2013 at 2:52 PM

      “Not true. The largest study ever on the subject dealing with prayer for hospital patients showed that not only did it not help, but the people that were prayed for actually fared slightly worse.”
      Nice bluff.

      • bigmeechy74 - Jan 1, 2013 at 4:09 PM

        Nice bluff? Try this on for size Professor davidly.

        http://seattletimes.com/html/health/2002901053_pray31.html

    • davidly - Jan 1, 2013 at 3:09 PM

      If you say “i’ll pray for you” that just means “I’m going to do nothing to help you.”
      In some cases, probably. Any idiot could tell you that the one does not preclude the other, though. As a matter of fact, there is no determinable correlation. The likelihood of someone filled with a delusional godly kindliness doing a good deed would make the scenario you cite a wash versus the same dynamic amongst non-believers who use the existence of charitable organizations to justify looking the other way.

      Frankly, I’m surprised that you took time away from helping the Whitehead family to respond to all these criticisms. But then again, furthering the cause for secular humanism is tireless work, idn’t it?

      The question is: How does your e-chastising people for wishing and praying on the Web fare in the battle against religious dogma. My guess is that it only bolsters it. It’d be better to focus on the more malignant manifestations of piousness. And yet that is the irony: You come off as more sanctimonious than any of those you trolled after.

      • bigmeechy74 - Jan 1, 2013 at 4:12 PM

        I wasn’t trolling. Just pointing out the meaningless of saying “thoughts and prayers…” You can spout of big words all day long but it doesn’t make you interesting or insightful. The fact is, what I said was true. People pray instead of act. In extreme cases, people pray instead of going to doctors and people die. Sometimes innocent children. If I wanna point out that in 2013 we should move past superstition then I will. You can call it trolling while i’ll just call it stating a fact.

    • davidly - Jan 1, 2013 at 4:54 PM

      Firstly, I apologize for the bluff accusation.

      Secondly, I congratulate you for calling me on it, for it was itself my own lazy bluff.

      Thirdly, the study you cite is clearly unbiased. Nevertheless, it contains one considerable flaw–indeed, it’s even hypothesized as a part of its conclusion: The power of positive thinking in the patients was compromised by the fact that all of the participants were actively recruited for the study. For an experiment to be truly blind that wouldn’t be the case. Moreover, even the slightest hint of coercion taints the very point of the exercise–somewhat analogous to the self-defeating nature of “ostentatious prayer” I referred to earlier, but in this case it directly interferes with the person who is believed to be the beneficiary. And “believed” is the right word because, as it says in the article, the researchers met their own results with “bewilderment”.

      Finally, people of all walks of life find any number of excuses not to help those in need. No doubt practicing Christian Scientists and the like–who’ve had their own dying children removed from their homes in order to hospitalize them and save their lives–are detrimental to enlightened values. And I’m personally no big fan of the Catholic church, quite the contrary. That said, some of the most giving people I have met in my life are religious. Some of the most giving people I have met in my life are atheists, too.

      You can believe that those who pray have cornered the market on not helping people if you like, but that doesn’t make it so.

      Happy Knew Ya!

  3. dysraw1 - Dec 30, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    such a young man its truly a sad situation,and yes my heart does go out to the bereaved family members

  4. trollaikman8 - Dec 30, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    Why is the picture of Andrew Bynum?

    • cinnalocks - Dec 31, 2012 at 11:50 AM

      That is not Andrew Bynum…..how dumb do you have to be to post a comment. They do not look anything like one another!!

  5. therealgts - Dec 30, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    My thoughts and prayers go out to bigmeechy74s family

    • florida727 - Dec 31, 2012 at 12:16 PM

      Agreed. Can you imagine the disappointment in knowing you spawned something like him/her/it?

      • bigmeechy74 - Jan 1, 2013 at 12:40 PM

        Just because I live in reality. I prefer actually helping people. Like doing good deeds or giving to charity or giving a homeless guy 10 bucks. If you say “i’ll pray for you” that just means “I’m going to do nothing to help you.” You can pretend I’m wrong but you know I’m right.

  6. mazblast - Dec 30, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    He played on some great Marquette teams. One of my college pals, center on our lousy basketball teams (which got hammered by Marquette twice a year), compared trying to maneuver around Whitehead in the lane to “moving a cement truck”. He just HATED playing those teams.

    He may have been a journeyman in the pros, but he was a beast in college. As someone who’s 57, his early death reminds me of my own mortality. RIP Jerome.

  7. badintent - Dec 30, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    RIP Big Guy, A tough time for his family in this holiday season.

  8. 6stn - Dec 31, 2012 at 8:34 AM

    Jerome Whitehead, Butch Lee, Bernard Toone, and Bo Ellis, who Al McGuire referred to as “The Secretariat of college forwards.” That was quite a team. I never used to think of 56 years old as being young until now. That’s what I’ll be in 2013. RIP Jerome.

    • don444 - Mar 29, 2013 at 8:19 AM

      56 years old absolutely ISN’T young just for the record, but no, it doesn’t represent what it once did in the timeline of average human existence and it isn’t particularly old relatively speaking.

  9. reneeb62 - Jan 2, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    As a member of the Whitehead family, we thank those who have given your prayers and thoughts. The expectation to us is not that you “do” anything physically for us, seeing as nothing you do can bring him back to us. But reading happy comments is more uplifting and cheering than some of what I have read. It’s shameful when a “celebrity” makes the news and so little regard is given to the family with mindless and inconsiderate chatter. He may have been a celebrity in others eyes, but to us he was simply a son, brother, uncle, nephew & cousin. One who is very deeply loved. Not to mention his death occurred right on the heels of my uncle’s, his father’s passing. His mother, sisters and the rest of our family is heavily grieving now with the loss of four Whiteheads in a 4 month period. So any showing of respect or care, whether you knew him personally or not, gives us a little smile. With that, I just want to say, THIS Whitehead cousin says thank you to those who have offered your prayers and thoughts.

  10. don444 - Mar 29, 2013 at 8:16 AM

    Pretty pathetic end for a guy who authored one of the most memorable plays in Final Four history. Charlotte will certainly never forget him. Forget basketball and take heed, folks, whatever problems you’re dealing with in life you’re not likely to find the answers at the bottom of a liquor bottle.

  11. sosad2013 - Apr 6, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    I just learned about my friends passing. It is sad when people make comments without even knowing someone and when you’re a public figure things can be published without knowing the facts. Jerome Whitehead was one of a kind. He was a good and sincere friend and a spiritual man who helped others less fortunate not a chronic alcoholic. My thoughts go out to his family and I know that he will always be with us.

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