‘We Will Never Truly Know Why’ | Former Suns GM Lance Blanks’ Daughter Wants To Remember Who Her Dad Was And Not His Tragic Death

Former NBA executive Lance Blanks tragically passed away on May 3 at the age of 56. His daughter Riley Blanks Reed has revealed his cause of death. She said in a obituary posted to ESPN that her father took his own life.

Lance Blanks speaking at a press conference while he was the Suns general manager. (Photo: Screenshot from the Phoenix Suns Twitter account)

“People will want more information,” Blanks Reed wrote in the obituary. “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.”

Remembering Lance

Blanks started his college career at Virginia before transferring to Texas. He didn’t get much playing time with the Cavaliers but made his mark with the Longhorns.

He averaged 19.7 points per game and 20.3 points per game in back-to-back seasons with the Longhorns. He also help lead them to an Elite Eight appearance in the NCAA tournament in 1990.

Blanks was selected 26th overall in the 1990 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons. He spent three seasons in the NBA, including some time with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Blanks played in Europe too before retiring from basketball in 1999.

After his playing career ended, he transitioned to the operations and executive side of basketball. He was a scout for the San Antonio Spurs and LA Clippers. He then served as the assistant general manager for the Cleveland Cavaliers and general manager for the Phoenix Suns before becoming an analyst in 2020 for Texas basketball on Longhorn Network.

Blanks ranks eighth all-time in Texas history for points with 1,322. His 20.0 points per game he averaged in his final season ranks fourth in school history for a single season. He ended his career as the school’s all-time steals leader and was inducted into the Longhorns Hall of Honor in 2007.

Family And Friends Show Their Respect

Blanks Reed wants people to remember her father as a leader on and off the court.

“Daddy had impact. He had what he would call ‘staying power.’ He was lovingly referred to as the duck: relaxed, calm and effortless on the surface, pedaling like mad beneath the water,” she wrote in her obituary.

She continued, “Daddy was my person, my idol, my teacher, my best friend and my confidant — a man I thought immortal. He encompassed everything to me.”

Joe Dumars, former Pistons teammate and current NBA executive vice president, head of basketball operations, called him “one of his closest friends.”

“Lance was a light for all those who knew him,” said Dumars to ESPN. “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.”

The Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and Suns star forward Kevin Durant also spoke highly of Blanks when they were asked questions about him last week after his passing. Blanks served as a mentor for Durant while he was at Texas. He knew Kerr when he was a scout for the Spurs and Kerr was a player.

Back to top