Dean Meminger, who played seven NBA seasons and helped the Knicks to a title in 1973 was found dead in a Manhattan hotel room, according to multiple reports.
“We want to thank everyone for their prayers and condolences during this difficult time for our family,” Meminger’s family said in a statement, via the Associated Press. “Dean `The Dream’ Meminger touched the hearts of so many on and off the basketball court. Through basketball and education, he helped countless people around the country receive scholarships, high school and college admissions, and even employment.”
“Everyone at the New York Knicks’ organization is saddened to hear the news of Dean Meminger’s passing,” Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald said in a statement. “From the day he was drafted by this franchise in 1971, Dean was a friend and close family member of this team. On April 5, 2013, the 1973 world championship team was honored at Madison Square Garden on its 40th anniversary. There was no one prouder than Dean to be back on the court with his teammates. We send our heartfelt condolences to the entire Meminger family.”
In an excellent New York Times piece, Richard Goldstein details Meminger’s contributions to that championship squad.
His most memorable moments came in Game 7 of the 1973 Eastern Conference finals, when he replaced Monroe in the second quarter, frustrated the hot-shooting Boston Celtics guard Jo Jo White and scored 13 points. After knocking the Celtics out of the playoffs, the Knicks beat the Los Angeles Lakers for the title.
“Dean went out and shut Jo Jo down, and we won that game,” said Phil Jackson, the former Knicks forward and Bulls and Lakers coach. “It was a signature performance in our history.”