Two-time NBA Champion dead at 66 years old

PHILADELPHIA, PA – The basketball community mourns the loss of Earl “The Twirl” Cureton, a two-time NBA champion, who passed away unexpectedly at the age of 66, as confirmed by the NBA.

Cureton, a versatile 6-foot-9 forward/center, had a commendable 12-season run in the NBA. His professional journey began with the Philadelphia 76ers, who drafted him in the third round of the 1979 NBA Draft. He played a crucial role in leading the 76ers to a sweeping victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1983 NBA championship.

Born and raised in Detroit, Cureton had a successful collegiate career at Detroit-Mercy under the guidance of Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Dick Vitale. His career came full circle when he signed with his hometown team, the Detroit Pistons, in November 1983. After three seasons with the Pistons, he was traded to the Chicago Bulls in 1986, which was then led by basketball legend Michael Jordan.

Cureton’s career saw him bouncing between the NBA and international leagues throughout the 1990s. His global experience included stints in Italy, France, Venezuela, Mexico, and Argentina. In addition to his international career, he played for the Houston Rockets during their championship-winning 1993-94 season and ended his NBA journey with the Toronto Raptors during the 1996-97 season.

In his post-playing career, Cureton dedicated a decade of his life to serving as a community ambassador for the Pistons organization. The Pistons organization expressed their deep sorrow over his passing, praising Cureton for his competitiveness on the court and his kindness and impact off it.