The NBA is facing legal troubles following the death of 26-year-old G-league player Zeke Upshaw.
His mother, Jewel Upshaw, and attorneys Benjamin Crump and Bob Hilliard filed a wrongful lawsuit Wednesday, May 30, claiming negligence on the defendants' part, Deadspin reports.
Upshaw, who played for the Drive for two seasons, collapsed during a game against the Long Island Nets on March 24. He died two days after because of "sudden cardiac death" according to a medical examiner's report.
— Benjamin Crump, Esq. (@AttorneyCrump) May 30, 2018
For four minutes, he was sprawled motionless on the floor of the court before being removed on a stretcher, the lawsuit states. A hospital cardiologist said Upshaw's brain didn't receive oxygen for 40 minutes.
“Zeke Upshaw, improperly attended, was left to lie unconscious on the hardwood, in his team’s full uniform, slowly dying as his otherwise healthy heart sat, unbeating in his chest,” the suit reads. “A heart that likely only needed a compression series, or a charged delivery from a defibrillator, to begin to pound again and to pump blood and life back into Zeke Upshaw. However, according to witnesses, no one ever attempted to revive him.”
In addition to the NBA, the Detroit Pistons, the Grand Rapids Drive's owners and the Deltaplex Arena, where the game took place, are defendants in the case. The lawsuit further alleges if life-saving measures were taken immediately, Upshaw could be alive today, Sports Illustrated reports.
“When the otherwise healthy heart of a professional NBA athlete suddenly stops during a game there is absolutely no reason, in 2018, that his heart cannot be immediately restarted,” attorney Bob Hilliard said in a press conference in New York on Wednesday. “No attempts were made to save Zeke Upshaw’s life. No CPR, no defibrillation, nothing.”