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Former UCLA basketball star found dead after posting heartbreaking video
Jaromir Chalabala / Shutterstock.com
Former UCLA basketball star William “Billy” Knight’s remains were discovered on a Phoenix road Sunday morning, several days after posting a tearful YouTube video titled, “I am Sorry Lord,” which the college athlete claimed would be his “last message on earth.”
Gone too soon
Looking into the camera, Knight said that he didn’t feel like he belonged on Earth and, with a shaky voice, expressed remorse for living a “life of sin.”
“Life is not a game,” he said in the video, which has since been removed from YouTube. “You can’t play around with life. It’s serious, and I wasn’t honest with a lot of people, even my mom, my brother and my family members. I isolated myself from my family members. I isolated myself from my friends, and that’s not something you should do.”
“I’m lost in life, and I feel like there’s no hope,” he continued. “I have no friends with me here. I have no wife, girlfriend. I have nothing, and I just feel like I can’t continue on.”
Police do not expect foul play in his death. While the 39-year-old’s emotional video points to suicide, the exact circumstances behind his demise are currently unknown pending an autopsy from the Maricopa County medical examiner.
The official UCLA Bruins basketball Twitter page posted their condolences yesterday, asking for fan’s to support Knight’s family during their time of need:
Our hearts are heavy after learning Billy Knight has passed away. We ask that the Bruin family keep Billy’s loved ones in their thoughts during this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/9WssEUnvbY
— UCLA Basketball (@UCLAMBB) July 10, 2018
Words of sympathy were offered from around the sports world, including from former and current UCLA basketball players. Lorenzo Mata, who played with the Bruins from 2004 to 2008, pleaded for people in Knight’s position to “get help.”
Sad. Sad. Sad. Rest Easy Billy Knight. Another bruin gone. Another athlete gone. Mental illness IS NOT A JOKE!!! I’m here for EVERYONE who needs to talk. We ALL go through problems. Don’t be AFRAID TO GET HELP!! #awareness #MentalHealthMatters #SpeakUp
— Lorenzo Mata (@RealMataLo14) July 10, 2018
Dinos Trigonis, a fixture around the Los Angeles boys basketball community and a mentor to young athletes, knew the Knight family for the past two decades and was devastated by the loss.
The fatal news about former UCLA Billy Knight is devastating! Known the Knight family for 20+ years. Great people. Parents fantastic! Billy’s brother Eric played on my Belmont Shore squad in late 90s. Heartbroken!
— Dinos Trigonis (@trigonis30) July 10, 2018
A memorable career
Averaging 8.0 points and 2.2 rebounds a game from 1997 to 2002, Knight helped take the Bruins to the NCAA Tournament during his final three seasons on the team. As a junior, Knight was awarded the Bruin Bench Basketball Award for Most Improvement in All-Around Play and toured Africa’s Ivory Coast with the Athletes In Action All-Star team.
The point guard shone during his senior season, bringing in 14.1 points per game — the second most on the team behind leading scorer Jason Kapono — and led his teammates in 3-point field goal percentage at 42 percent. Knight played the most impressive game in his college career on Feb. 3, 2001, against Stanford, the premier team in the nation, netting a game-high 22 points and shooting 3 for 7 from the 3-point line.
Despite the drastic improvement during his latter two years, Knight went undrafted in the 2002 NBA draft. Instead, he played professionally in the D-league in France and Japan.
Mind, body and sport
Tragically, Knight was the second UCLA basketball player to die last week. After police arrived at his home in response to a call about a “man with a gun” last Friday, twenty-seven-year-old Tyler Honeycutt shot at the officers before barricading himself in his Sherman Oaks, Calif., home for nine hours.
By the time SWAT entered his residence early Saturday morning, Honeycutt was dead from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County coroner’s office told MSN that authorities are investigating Honeycutt’s death as a suicide or an accident pending an autopsy.
Honeycutt played two seasons at UCLA in 2010 and 2011 before moving on to play professionally for the Sacramento Kings. Like Knight, he eventually took his career overseas and played last for Moscow’s BC Khimki.
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