Former Pistons guard, NBA executive Lance Blanks dies at 56

Lance Blanks circa 1991. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Lance Blanks, who played in the NBA for three seasons and later worked as a scout and front office executive, has died, his family announced Thursday. He was 56.

Blanks died Wednesday in Dallas, his family said in a statement distributed by the NBA. The cause and manner of death are not yet known according to TMZ Sports, which reported a spokesperson for the Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office in Texas said that exam results are still pending.

Blanks was a standout at the University of Texas and was first-round pick by the Pistons in the 1990 NBA Draft. He played three seasons for the Pistons and Minnesota Timberwolves before playing overseas. 

He was a former general manager of the Phoenix Suns, an assistant general manager for the Cleveland Cavaliers and a scout for the San Antonio Spurs and most recently the Los Angeles Clippers. 

"Lance was a light for all those who knew him," said NBA executive Joe Dumars, one of his Detroit teammates. "It's been a privilege to have called him one of my closest friends. I'm eternally grateful for all the support he has shown me throughout the years. His legacy will be carried on, not only by his family, but by all those whose lives he touched for the better."

Blanks played college basketball at Virginia and Texas, which inducted him into the Longhorns Hall of Honor in 2007.

Blanks' family, including his two daughters, released statements Thursday about their father, TMZ Sports reported.

"My dad was my person," Riley Blanks Reed said in a statement reported by TMZ. "He was my teacher, my idol, my best friend. The love I have for him is simply immeasurable."

Former NFL star Eric Metcalf, a Texas alum and friend of Lance Blanks, commented on his death Thursday on Twitter. 

"Everyone hug your family and friends and tell them you love them. We lost a dear friend and brother," Metcalf posted. "People are going through things and you never know it!!!"


LANDOVER, MD - CIRCA 1991: Lance Blanks #32 of the Detroit Piston looks to pass the ball around Greg Foster #42 of the Washington Bullets during an NBA basketball game circa 1991 at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Focus on Sport/G