Retired basketball player and Phoenix Sounds general manager Lance Blanks passed away at the age of 56, his daughter Riley announced earlier in the week.
“On the morning of May 3, 2023, my father, Lance Blanks, took his life,” she shared in an essay published by ESPN. “The fact is we will never truly know why. And we don’t need to. All we need to do is remember him, honor him, celebrate him, and pour our love into the family that made him happy.”
Throughout the essay, Riley reflected on her father’s career and the significant role he played in her life. Referring to him as a leader, she discussed Blanks’ entrance into the NBA in 1990 when he was drafted as a 26th pick by the Detroit Pistons.
Blanks played for the Pistons for two seasons before being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves. He also went on to play for the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers before retiring in 1997. Throughout his entire career, though, Riley said her father was always there for her.
“The year I was born marked the beginning of Daddy’s NBA career, intertwining our lives with the league,” Riley wrote. “Daddy put his all into everything he did. I recall the countless hours spent together at basketball games while he scouted. From small, grungy gyms in the South to unlined courts in West Africa, to the state-of-the-art facilities, he’d watch with his intense gaze and calculated thoughts.”
“Daddy had impact,” she added, speaking of his significant role in not only her life but the NBA. “He had what he would call ‘staying power.’ He was lovingly referred to as the duck: relaxed, calm, and effortless on the surface, pedaling like mad beneath the water.”
Riley Blanks says her father was her ‘greatest joy’ in life
Although Blanks was a significant figure throughout the NBA, going on to work for several teams such as the San Antonio Spurs, and Cleveland Cavaliers, even serving as the general manager of the Phoenix Suns from 2010 to 2013, Riley said his status as a father was always the most impactful.
“He recently told me that I gave him a front-row seat to my life and that it was his greatest joy,” she shared. “What he didn’t understand was that it was mine, too.”
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In addition to the essay published on ESPN, Riley Blanks posted another tribute to her father on Instagram. In a similar fashion, the Phoenix Suns also gave their kindest regards to the former general manager.
Blanks lives on through her remaining family members, his mother Clarice, brother Sidney Jr., the mother of his two daughters, Renee, his daughters, Riley and Bryn, and granddaughter, Isabel.
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