Eddie Griffin a NBA athlete with a troubled past died in Houston on August 17th when his sport utility vehicle collided with a freight train in a fiery crash. It is easy to say all the things that went wrong in his life but no one could have imagined his life would have ended so sudden and tragically.
Police reports have revealed that he ignored a railroad warning and went through a barrier striking the moving train. The crash would leave his body burned beyond recognition only to be identified by his dental records. It is not known if at the time of the accident if he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Toxicology tests are still pending.
I remember meeting Eddie once and he was quiet and reserved. In fact, he uttered only a few short words while everyone around him spoke very loudly. His fellow past teammates all say that he was mild mannered but struggled with alcohol addiction. Griffin briefly checked into the Betty Ford Center to get six weeks of treatment for alcohol abuse but never fully shook the demon of the bottle.
Despite all of his talent and skills on the basketball court his off court woes would deter him from maximizing his full potential. It makes one wonder how with all the success and fame in the world many still can’t escape the biggest hurdle of self destruction and substance abuse.
Eddie Griffin was born in Philadelphia and was one of the nation’s top freshman at Seton Hall in 2000-2001 and name NBA All Rookie second team in 2002. Griffin was drafted by the Nets as the seventh pick in 2001 and then traded to Houston.
In November 2003, Griffin was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, after his girlfriend at the time accused him of domestic violence and shooting at her car. The Rockets suspended him and then waived him in December 2003.
New Jersey signed Griffin in January 2004. The Nets tried to help Griffin in his personal struggles providing him with guidance and stability. Less than two months later, he was waived again.
Minnesota signed Griffin to a one-year contract before the 2004-05 season and he was given a contract extension. He was suspended by the NBA in January for five games for violating the anti-drug program and Minnesota waived him on March 13.
Eddie Griffin may have caused much of his own pain through his unwise choices and counterproductive behavior but nevertheless he was a talented young man that was unable to rise above his afflictions. My heart goes out to his family and friends as they mourn the loss of his precious life of 25 short years.