Former NBA Champion and College Star Earl Cureton Dead at 66

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Former NBA Champion and College Star Earl Cureton Dead at 66

Earl Cureton, who transitioned from a Detroit high school and college star to the Pistons, died at 66.

Known as “Earl The Twirl,” Cureton had a successful career at Detroit Finney before playing one season at Robert Morris, then heading back to the University of Detroit, where he played for Dick Vitale.

Cureton and Vitale managed to get Detroit to the NCAA Tournament in 1979, with Cureton leading the team with 19.9 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.

He later spent three years at the Philadelphia 76ers and was part of the Sixers’ 1983 title-winning squad.

Cureton then returned again to Detroit and signed his hometown Pistons the following season.

Cureton also played for the Houston Rockets during his 17-year NBA career, where he won another championship in 1994, when Houston beat the Knicks in the NBA Finals.

He eventually retired in 1997 after playing 674 NBA games and averaged 5.4 points per game and 4.7 rebounds, the New York Post reported.

Cureton alos played in Italy, France, Argentina and Mexico.

During his time at the Pistons, Cureton filled in on the team’s radio broadcast on Friday, taking Rick Mahorn’s place.

According to The Detroit Free Press, he was scheduled to broadcast the Pistons’ game against Orlando this week on Bally Sports Detroit.

Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas, who played with Cureton, said in a statement:

“All of us are hurting. He was a tremendous teammate, tough competitor, a champion, and a great human being.”

“Earl always held the Detroit community close to his heart and worked tirelessly to make a difference for the city he loved. He will be greatly missed.”

The Pistons released their statement:

We are “deeply saddened by the passing of Earl Cureton, a person who meant so much to the organization as a colleague, former player, community ambassador and friend.”

“As tough a competitor as he was during his playing years on the court, he was equally kind-hearted, outgoing and impactful off it.”

“He represented our franchise with great passion and truly enjoyed working to give back and improve the lives of Detroiters in the city he loved so much. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Earl’s family and countless friends and teammates during this most difficult time.”

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