Eric Montross – the ninth overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft – has passed away after a battle with cancer, his family announced Monday.

He was just 52 years old.

Who was Eric Montross?

Eric Montross, a former professional basketball player, had a noteworthy career marked by achievements both on and off the court. Born on September 23, 1971, in Indianapolis, Indiana, Montross’s journey in the world of basketball began to unfold during his college years at the University of North Carolina.

Standing at an imposing 7 feet tall, Montross became a dominant force for the Tar Heels. His impact was instrumental in helping the team secure the NCAA Championship in 1993, showcasing his skills as a formidable center. His contributions to the team were recognized as he earned the NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player award.

The success at the collegiate level propelled Eric Montross into the NBA, where he was selected as the ninth overall pick in the first round of the 1994 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics. Montross played for several NBA teams during his professional career, including the Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, New Jersey Nets, Detroit Pistons, Toronto Raptors, and the Philadelphia 76ers. Although his NBA career saw varying degrees of success, Montross remained a respected figure for his work ethic and dedication on the court.

Beyond his athletic achievements, Eric Montross distinguished himself for his commitment to philanthropy and community service. He established the Eric Montross Father’s Day Basketball Camp, an annual event that not only promotes basketball skills but also emphasizes the importance of fatherhood and positive male role models.

Following his retirement from professional basketball, Montross continued to contribute to the sport’s development. He worked as a basketball analyst, sharing his insights and knowledge with audiences. His legacy extends beyond the statistics and game highlights, encompassing a commitment to community, mentorship, and the values instilled during his formative years at the University of North Carolina.