Blanks’ daughter confirms former UVA, Texas star died by suicide

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo: Firstsportz

Former Virginia and Texas basketball star Lance Blanks tragically died by suicide according to his daughter, Riley Blanks Reed.

In an emotional article Blanks Reed wrote for ESPN on Tuesday, she confirmed that the 56-year-old former NBA executive took his life.

“People will want more information,” she wrote. “But the fact is we will never truly know why. And we don’t need to. All we need to do is remember him, honor him, celebrate him and pour our love into the family that made him happy.

“All we need to know is that, oftentimes, the people in the most pain are the giants in our lives. Daddy was my person, my idol, my teacher, my best friend and my confidant … a man I thought immortal. He encompassed everything to me.”

Blanks, who played for Terry Holland in 1985-86 at UVA before transferring to Texas, was on assignment as a scout for the LA Clippers at the time of his death, according to reports. Blanks was remembered during last weekend’s tribute to Holland at John Paul Jones Arena, where dozens of former players, coaches, administrators and others assembled to honor the late UVA coach and athletic director who passed away in late February after a long battle with Alzheimers.

Blanks put up big numbers at Texas over his two-year career there and was inducted into the Longhorns’ Hall of Honor in 2007. While his career at UVA was short, Blanks made lifelong friends and still returned to Charlottesville for visits.

This reporter last spent time with Blanks during a charity event at the home of Blanks’ close friend Phil Wendel of Charlottesville, two summers ago.

He played in the NBA for three seasons and went on to become general manager of the Phoenix Suns from 2010-13.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Lance Blanks,” the Suns said in a statement. “He loved basketball and contributed to the game as a player, executive, scout and broadcaster.”