A collective shudder went through the NBA-watching world on Monday when The New York Post reported that former NBA player Quinton Ross had been found dead in Queens, N.Y. Shortly thereafter, the shock of learning that the 32-year-old wing had died was replaced by a very different kind of disbelief — at the revelation that the Post had gotten the story wrong, and that the dead man found "stuffed into a trash bag that was hidden in a patch of weeds midway between the water and the boardwalk at Beach 40th Street" in the Far Rockaway section of Queens was, in fact, a different person. His name was Quynton Ross.
If the rest of us were stunned by the development — by the erroneous reporting about something as elemental and critical as a person's life and death — well, that pales in comparison to what it must have been like to be Ross, who found himself having to spend Monday confirming the fact that he is still alive. The Dallas native called into local hip-hop radio station K104 to get the word out publicly in the Dallas area:
"It's been a crazy morning, man," he said. "Unbelievable."
He later attended the NIT contest between Southern Methodist University — where he played from 1999 through 2003, earning Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 2003 — and LSU on Monday night in Dallas, and spoke with The Associated Press about the ordeal:
"My phone was going crazy," he said. "I checked Facebook. Finally, I went on the Internet, and they were saying I was dead. I just couldn't believe it." [...]
The 32-year-old Ross called loved ones and posted on Facebook to "let everybody know I was OK."
"A couple [relatives] already heard it," he said. "They were crying. I mean, it was a tough day, man, mostly for my family and friends."
I'd imagine so. And if somebody at the New York Post hasn't extended some nature of apology to Ross, his family and the family of the deceased Quynton Ross for the giant error, well, they're blowing it.
Ross earned a training camp invite from the Los Angeles Clippers after going undrafted out of SMU, but was waived just before the start of the 2003-04 season. After playing in Belgium for a season, the 6-foot-6 wing returned to the States and inked a four-year deal with the Clippers, carving out a role as a defensive-minded perimeter player for those mid-decades Clips teams and making 10 postseason starts for the '05-'06 squad that took the Phoenix Suns to seven games in the Western Conference semifinals.
Ross also played for the Memphis Grizzlies, Dallas Mavericks, Washington Wizards and New Jersey Nets during a seven-year NBA career, and spent a brief stint with the D-League's Canton Charge during the 2011-12 season. He also played professionally in France in 2013.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York "has not yet determined the cause of death" of Quynton Ross, 32, a photographer and father of a 4-year-old daughter. Our condolences to his family and friends.
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