Two-Time NBA Champion and Detroit Pistons Legend Died Suddenly at the Age of 66

The news saddened Detroit Pistons fans as well as older NBA fans

by Sededin Dedovic
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Two-Time NBA Champion and Detroit Pistons Legend Died Suddenly at the Age of 66
© Scott Legato / Getty Images

The basketball world was stunned by the death of Earl Cureton, a former player best known for his time with the Detroit Pistons and two NBA championships. Cureton, who had just turned 66, died unexpectedly, confirmed by the Pistons, with whom he won his first title in 1983.

He later secured a second championship a decade later with the Houston Rockets. Cureton's NBA career spanned an impressive 12 seasons, beginning with his 1979 draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. Drafted 58th overall, he spent his first three pro years with the Sixers before embarking on a journeyman career that took him around the league and even across the ocean.

After his time in Philadelphia, Cureton's journey took him to Italy's Olimpia Milano before joining the Pistons in 1982. In Detroit, he got his first taste of championship glory, contributing to the Pistons' 1983 title. After three seasons with the Pistons, he again played for the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers, Charlotte Hornets and Olimpia Milan, before returning to the NBA with the Houston Rockets.

With the Rockets in 1994, Cureton added another championship ring to his collection, cementing his legacy as a two-time NBA champion. He finished his professional career with the Toronto Raptors in 1997. The cause of Cureton's sudden death remains unknown at this time.

The news shocked the basketball community, and the Detroit Pistons released a heartfelt statement: "The Detroit Pistons organization is deeply saddened by the passing of Earl Cureton, who meant so much to our organization as a teammate, alumnus, community ambassador and friend," the team wrote.

"While he was a fierce competitor on the field during his playing days, he was equal parts kind, genuine and unforgettable. He represented our franchise with great passion and truly enjoyed giving back and enriching the lives of Detroiters in the city he loved.

Our deepest condolences to Earl family and countless friends and teammates during this difficult time." Earl Cureton's impact on the game of basketball goes beyond his championship accomplishments. He was known for his versatility, hustle and positive attitude, leaving a lasting mark on every team he played for. Older NBA fans will know what kind of personality we are talking about.

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