Ex-NBA player who shocked the world in 1980, dies of cancer

dave-meyers-nbaFormer UCLA basketball star and ex-NBA player Dave Meyers has passed away. He was 62. Meyers died at his home after a lengthy battle with cancer.

The NBRPA (National Retired Players Association) expressed its condolences.

Meyers was a star in UCLA, leading them in scoring at 18.3 points and rebounding at 7.9 in his final season, helping the Bruins to a 28-3 record. The 6’8 Meyers was named a consensus All-American and became the second pick in the NBA draft.

Nineteen days after the NBA draft, Meyers was part of perhaps the biggest trade in league history. He was sent by the Lakers, along with Junior Bridgeman, Brian Winters and Elmore Smith, to the Milwaukee Bucks for Walt Wesley and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

An aggressive, fundamentally sound player, he rebounded, played defense and handed out assists with the same enthusiasm that he took shots.

Meyers sat out the entire 1978-79 season due to an injury, but came back strong the following season, averaging 12.1 ppg and 5.7 rpg for the Bucks. Prior to the 78-79 season, Meyers was pressured by team management to undergo surgery because of his injury. He refused, partly because that surgery went against principles of his Jehovah’s Witness religion.

Meyers was known as a private person, who shocked the sports world in 1980 — five years into a career with the Bucks — by announcing that he was leaving the NBA to spend more time with his family. He never returned to the NBA again.

Meyers returned to California, and after a stint in sales for Motorola received his teaching certificate and taught elementary school — mostly fourth and sixth grade — for more than 30 years, according to LA Times.

Meyers played a total of 281 NBA games, averaging 11.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg in 26.6 mpg. He averaged career best 14.7 ppg for the Bucks during the 1977-78 season.


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