| ||Associated Press|
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Timberwolves swingman Malik Sealy
was killed Saturday when his sport utility vehicle was hit head on
by a pickup truck traveling the wrong way on a divided highway.
Sealy, 30, died of head and chest injuries after the 4 a.m. CDT
crash on Highway 100 just north of a construction zone in suburban
St. Louis Park.
He was on his way home after celebrating the 24th birthday of
teammate Kevin Garnett, who had admired Sealy as a youth.
Timberwolves players and players' wives were at Sealy's home
comforting his wife, Lisa, and young son, Malik Remington, said
coach Flip Saunders and Kevin McHale, vice president of basketball
"This is a sudden and devastating loss to our team," McHale
said. "We're in shock. Malik was one of the most popular players
in our locker room, and one of the biggest reasons behind our
turnaround and success this past season on the court."
A moment of silence was observed at the opener of the Western
Conference finals between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Lakers
in Los Angeles.
"Malik Sealy was a stellar contributor to the NBA, his team and
his community," NBA commissioner David Stern said. "This is a
tragic day for the NBA family and we extend our sympathy and
prayers to his family."
At a news conference, team president Rob Moor called Sealy a
"His sense of humor is what I'll remember more than anything.
His off-the-cuff comments; he could take you by surprise and say
the most wonderful things at the perfect time. That's something
we'll certainly miss," Moor said.
Added Saunders: "Words can't express the loss that I feel
today. Malik was a wonderful person who touched everybody in a
Donnie Walsh, president of the Indiana Pacers, the team that
chose Sealy in the first round of the 1992 NBA draft, remembered
him as "a tremendous performer and a true gentleman."
The pickup driver, Souksangouane Phengsene, 43, was traveling
north in the southbound lane, the patrol said. He was hospitalized
in satisfactory condition with head and chest injuries.
Neither accident victim was wearing a seatbelt, police said. An
airbag deployed in the truck. Sealy's sport utility vehicle didn't
have an airbag.
Authorities had not talked to Phengsene by Saturday night, so
the investigation was still in its early stages, said Capt. Al
Smith of the state patrol.
Sealy, Garnett and at least one other player had a late dinner
at the Monte Carlo Bar & Cafe in downtown Minneapolis late Friday
night, said manager Tony Rimarcik. He said a group of about six or
seven people had gathered in a separate room, and left the
restaurant just before 1 a.m.
Sealy is the second NBA player killed in a traffic accident this
year. Charlotte Hornets guard Bobby Phills died after a crash on
Jan. 12, when he and teammate David Wesley were racing their
Porsches at more than 100 mph after a morning practice.
Sealy was involved in a car accident on his way to practice
during his first season with the Timberwolves and needed 20
stitches to close a cut on his forehead.
Sealy had just finished his eighth NBA season and his second
with the Timberwolves. He averaged 11.3 points in the regular
season and 12.5 in the playoffs as Minnesota was eliminated in four
games in the first round by Portland. He played in every regular
season and playoff game.
His season was notable for the way he improved his shooting
percentage, making more than 50 percent of his shots over the first
half of the season -- a rarity for an NBA guard -- before finishing
at 47.6 percent. He had never shot better than 43.5 percent in his
first seven seasons.
Sealy, who also played in the NBA for Indiana, the Los Angeles
Clippers and Detroit, grew up in New York and starred at St.
John's, where he was the school's second-leading career scorer
behind Chris Mullin when he left following his senior season in
"We will long remember Malik, not only for his outstanding
ability on the basketball court, but also for his gentleness and
strength of character in our classrooms and throughout our
campus," said the Rev. Donald J. Harrington, president of St.
As a high school senior, Sealy led Tolentine to a No. 1 national
ranking and the New York state championship.
Garnett once said Sealy had been one of his favorite players
while Sealy was playing at St. John's and Garnett was an
eighth-grader in Mauldin, S.C. He even wore Sealy's No. 21 that
"I wasn't the most confident guy at that time, and I was trying
to find someone who was another me. Not the best player, but
someone who played like me," Garnett said in January 1999. "With
Malik, I just related to his body."
Sealy also was an actor and sold a line of ties and clothing
through Malik Sealy XXI Inc. While playing with the Clippers, he
appeared on such TV shows as "The Sentinel" and "Diagnosis:
Murder," and in the film "Eddie."
Besides his wife and son, he is survived by his parents, Sidney
and Ann Sealy.
His father was a bodyguard for slain civil rights leader Malcolm
X. Sidney Sealy named Malik after one of Malcolm X's Muslim names.
on Sealy's death
The Minnesota Timberwolves organization is saddened by the tragic news of Malik Sealy's death.
Malik was a consummate professional, leader and respected teammate. He was a devoted husband and father, a leader in the locker room and a first-class ambassador for the team and the NBA.
Malik is survived by his wife Lisa, his son Malik Remington (Remi) and his parents, Sidney and Ann. Malik was 30 years old.
Kevin McHale, Timberwolves vice president of basketball operations: "This is a sudden and devastating loss to our team. We're in shock. Malik was one of the most popular players in our locker room and one of the biggest reasons behind our turnaround and success this past season on the court. But above and beyond basketball, everyone admired Malik for the special person that he was. My heart goes out to Lisa and Malik's entire family."
Flip Saunders, Timberwolves head coach and general manager: "Words can't express the loss that I feel today. Malik was a wonderful person who touched everybody in a special way. We are a tight-knit family and we are suffering right now -- this is one of the worst possible things that can happen to an organization. This will affect us for a long, long time."
Wrong-way driver arrested; T-Wolves mourn Sealy
Driver who struck Sealy has history of drunken driving
Hometown joins NBA in mourning Hornets' Phills
Flip Saunders says Malik Sealy will be missed but, never forgotten.
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Police Commander Al Smith describes how the crash occurred.
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T-Wolves President Rob Moor says the organization is in shock about Sealy's death.
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