Image Credit: NBA
Can you believe it’s been twenty tears since the world lost Malik Sealy?
A 6-foot-8 native of the Bronx, Sealy was taken very young, killed by a drunk driver in a car accident on May 20, 2000.
Sadly, today marks 20 years since Timberwolves forward Malik Sealy died in St. Louis Park on May 20, 2000 after being hit by a drunk driver while driving home from best friend Kevin Garnett's 24th birthday party in Minneapolis.
— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) May 20, 2020
However, he was the quintessential New York basketball story. He played high school ball at Tolentine High School leading the team to a 30-1 record and a state title his senior year. Then the level up came when Sealy became a Redman, playing at St. John’s University under coach Lou Carnesecca.
While there, Sealy was a prolific scorer, developing into a superstar at St. John’s. He played in three NCAA Tournaments, reaching the Elite Eight during his junior year. He is the school’s second all-time leading scorer (2,401), behind only Chris Mullin.
— CelticsLife.com (@celticslife) May 19, 2020
Sealy was also a two-time All-Big East first team selection and two-time Haggerty Award winner. The award is given to the area’s top player.
Carnesecca referred to Sealy as extremely coachable. We bet.
In the 1992 draft, Sealy was the 14th overall pick, selected by the Indiana Pacers. He had an eight-year career in the NBA before his untimely passing while a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
On May 20th, 2000, Sealy was driving home after celebrating Kevin Garnett’s 24th birthday in downtown Minneapolis. He was struck by a pickup truck that was driving the wrong way on a divided highway.
Best part about all these Jordan reeled being released is you get to see ballers from the past you may have forgotten about. This clip has Malik Sealy(RIP) and Bimbo Coles!! Aged myself but I don’t care!! https://t.co/pWde4FY0RK
— Mon Like Scars (@ElliScars) May 19, 2020
The driver of the truck, Souksangouane Phengsene, was intoxicated and sentenced to four years in prison. However, he had also been convicted of DWI in 1997 and after serving time for Sealy’s death, he was arrested and charged with felony drunk driving again in 2006.
In 2008, he received an eight-year prison sentence for two drunken driving violations committed since.
Former Timberwolves star, Kevin Garnett has said in the past how much he looked up to Sealy as a source of confidence and inspiration. Many others have echoed the sentiment as a career already in bloom was cut too short.
[HOMMAGE] Une Star universitaire, une carrière professionnelle quelconque, une idole pour un futur Hall of Famer, Malik Sealy nous a quitté le 20 mai 2000 dans un accident de la route. Il y a tout juste 20 ans. Hommage.https://t.co/0cGJpG1orX pic.twitter.com/waWLxRGb3h
— BASKET RETRO (@Basket_Retro) May 20, 2020
His funeral was held at Riverside Church to a full congregation of 3,000. All mourning for Malik. Representatives from three different religious groups spoke and a New York City legend turned international star was laid to rest.
We can never forget the late great, Malik Sealy.