Sean Rooks, former NBA center and 76ers assistant coach, dies at 46

ByJeff Goodman ESPN logo
Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Former NBA center and Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Sean Rooks died Tuesday at the age of 46.

"It is with deep sadness and overwhelming grief that we mourn the sudden loss of my son, Sean," his mother, Deborah Brown, said in a statement released by the 76ers. "Our family asks that our privacy be respected as we grieve during this incredibly difficult time."

Rooks collapsed and died while having dinner at a Philadelphia restaurant, sources told The Undefeated's Marc Spears.

Earlier in the day, Rooks had visited with Knicks president Phil Jackson and general manager Steve Mills for an assistant coaching position on Jeff Hornacek's staff.

Rooks got into coaching in 2007 and had been with the 76ers organization since 2014, prior to his release a couple of weeks ago.

"Sean will long be remembered not for his accomplishments on the court -- of which there were many -- but for his vibrant personality, positive outlook and the genuine care he had for everyone in his life," the 76ers said in a statement.

Rooks played for seven NBA teams -- the Mavericks, Timberwolves, Hawks, Lakers, Clippers, New Orleans Hornets and Magic--from 1992 to 2004 after being drafted by Dallas with the 30th overall pick in 1992. He played 749 career games and scored 4,676 points.

"We are shocked and terribly saddened by the news of the death of Sean Rooks," Lakers president and co-owner Jeanie Buss said in a statement. "During his time with the Lakers he was a true professional and was a favorite among teammates, coaches and staff. Sean was a friendly guy that everyone loved having around."

The Knicks released a statement Wednesday from Hornacek that said, "We are saddened and shocked by the passing of Sean Rooks, especially since we had just met with him yesterday about the possibilities of joining our coaching staff. His ability to work with big players and his passion for coaching were undeniable."

Rooks averaged 16.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game as a senior at Arizona in 1992, and he was part of a graduating class that won 106 games under Lute Olson in Tucson.

"This is just a horrible shock," Olson said in a statement. "Sean was such a wonderful young man with a great disposition. During his time at Arizona, he was always one of the most pleasant individuals to be around. His positivity was something I'll always remember. This is a tough day and a terrible loss for Arizona basketball. We send our condolences to Sean's family and friends."

Rooks' son, Kameron, is a 7-footer playing for California. Rooks is also survived by another child, Khayla, and his mother.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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