Jack Haley : NBA center dies at 51

Jack Haley : NBA center dies at 51

Jack Haley, who went from surfer to the UCLA basketball team to the NBA, has died. He was 51.

Haley died at Los Alamitos Medical Center. His family released a statement saying Haley died of heart disease.

“It is with great sadness that the Haley family announces the passing of our beloved father, son, and brother,” Haley’s family said in the statement. “Jack was honored and grateful for the opportunity to play in the NBA for nine years, alongside world-class athletes with the Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs, and New Jersey Nets.”

Haley was a member of the Bulls’ NBA championship team that went 72-10 in the 1995-96 regular season. He played in only one regular-season game that season.

“Jack was a hard worker and always very professional,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. Haley played one season with L.A. “He was proud to wear the Lakers uniform, and he was always a credit to our organization and the Lakers family.

“Our condolences go out to his family and friends at this time.”

AS news of Haley’s death became known, former teammates and friends tweeted memories and condolences.

“Jack Haley – member of Bulls 95-96 team of ages. RIP.” Ex-Bulls coach Phil Jackson tweeted.

Former teammate Scottie Pippen tweeted: “Very sorry to hear my old teammate, Jack Haley, has passed away. Great guy who I stayed in touch with over the years. RIP.”