The family of Zeke Upshaw, an NBA development player who died after collapsing during a game, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the league Wednesday.
The blistering suit takes the NBA to task for what it claims was a shockingly poor response to Upshaw’s health emergency during a Saturday night game in Michigan.
“For nearly four minutes, the team’s medical staff and personnel moved around and near Zeke’s body as it lay motionless on the court, during which time no sense of urgency can be observed from those kneeling around him, or from those walking towards or away from him,” says the suit filed in Manhattan Federal Court.
“On the contrary, there appeared to be uncertainty, indecisiveness, and a complete and utter lack of appreciation of the severity of the moment as the basketball player’s life silently slipped away on the hard wood floor in front of them. Remarkably, for much longer than four full minutes, no (CPR) was initiated, no chest compressions were started, no oxygen mask was placed on his nose and mouth, no airway was cleared and secured, and no defibrillator sensors and electric delivery patches were attached and secured to Zeke’s chest.”
Upshaw, 26, was rushed to the hospital where doctors him to be “brain dead,” the suit says.
He was pronounced dead two days later. The suit says Upshaw, who was playing for the Detroit Pistons’ G-League team, suffered a sudden, cardiac event.
“I raised Zeke to be amazing. He was an amazing kid and young adult,” his mother Jewel Upshaw said at a Wednesday press conference.
“I also told Zeke to do his best in everything he did. Unfortunately, the same wasn’t afforded to Zeke.”
The family’s lawyer Benjamin Crump said the NBA should put in place the same protocols for its G-league players that exist for its top professionals.
“Can you imagine if LeBron (James) or Steph (Curry) went down tonight? How immediate the response would be for them?” Crump said.