A former star of the New York Knicks’ last championship team was found dead of a possible drug overdose Friday in New York.
Dean ‘The Dream’ Meminger was found dead just before 12pm Friday of an apparent drug overdose by staff at the Casablanca Hotel in Harlem. He was fully clothed and still wearing his championship ring from the Knicks last title in 1973. Rooms at the seedy hotel cost less than $100 a night.
The former Knicks and Atlanta Hawks player had struggled with well-publicized addictions to cocaine and crack for most of his adult life.
Meminger was found with ‘white stuff oozing out of his nose… like had had a seizure after he was using cocaine,’ the New York Post reported.
Despite making as much as $100,000 a season during his playing years, Meminger died in a $95-a-night single room occupancy hotel, according to a hotel employee reached by MailOnline, in a rough area of Harlem.
Meminger was a key player for a 1973 Knicks team with stars like Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Earl ‘The Pearl’ Monroe and Bill Bradley. Playing both guard positions, ‘the Dream’ was a lock down defender that partied as hard as he played. He was routinely getting high even during his playing days, which perhaps contributed to his career ending at only age 28.
There was also a back room at most [after game] parties, a place to get high. Meminger was among those who walked into those back rooms,’ Meminger told the New York Times in 2003.
Despite several stints in rehab, followed by several relapses, Meminger appears to have never fully escaped the firm grip drugs had on his life
A drug addled Meminger almost died in 2009 from a fire allegedly started by a crack pipe at the Bronx boarding house where he was staying, according to the New York Daily News.
Meminger suffered such severe smoke inhalation in the fire that he had to be revived on the sidewalk by paramedics, reported the Daily News, which added that several used crack pipes were littered around his body.
Having first starred as a high school player in New York, Meminger played college ball at Marquette University before spending four years with the Knicks, two with the Hawks and 32 games back with the Knicks in 1977 before they ended his career by releasing him.
Meminger bounced around several low-level coaching jobs before finding himself out of basketball for good after the 2003 season. He is survived by son Dean Meminger, an anchor with cable news station NY1 and a daughter, according to reports.
The cause of death has not yet been determined and is pending an autopsy, a New York Police Department spokesperson told MailOnline.
The Knicks organization could not be reached for comment.
By Ryan Gorman