Dean Meminger Critical After Suspected Crack-Pipe Fire
Meminger was still in critical condition Tuesday in the burn unit of New York's Jacobi Medical Center after being rescued from a Sunday night fire in a Bronx housing project that investigators suspect was sparked by a crack cocaine pipe, according to the New York Daily News.
Meminger was found unconscious near his bed. Several crack pipes were found inside his room of the small, run-down building. It was not clear whether the pipes belonged to Meminger, 62, but he has spoken publicly many times about his long battle with drug abuse.
Meminger, who played his high school basketball in the city, rose to prominence with the Knicks when they picked him with the 16th selection of the 1971 Draft out of Marquette University.
The Knicks won an NBA championship in his second season when he served as a backup to the much-heralded Monroe and Frazier. He was small (6-1, 175 pounds), but played big, often providing a spark off the bench in that championship season.
While Frazier and Monroe had long and illustrious careers in the NBA -- both reached the Basketball Hall of Fame -- Meminger had his playing career cut short as he battled his personal demons. He played three seasons with the Knicks, then two with Atlanta. He returned briefly to the Knicks in 1977, but was waived after 32 games.
After leaving the Knicks, he had struggled with several different jobs before becoming the basketball coach at Manhattanville College for the 2003-04 season.
Fire marshals Tuesday were still investigating whether the drug paraphernalia may have sparked the four-alarm blaze, according to Daily News sources. Meminger was suffering from both burns and smoke inhalation.
"I haven't spoken to investigators,'' his son, Dean Meminger, Jr., told the Daily News. "I'm just concerned about his safety.''