Lance Blanks, former NBA player and executive, dies at 56

Lance Blanks, who played in the NBA for three seasons and later worked as a scout and a front-office executive, has died, his family announced Thursday. He was 56.

Blanks died Wednesday in Dallas, his family said in a statement distributed by the NBA.

He was a former general manager of the Phoenix Suns, an assistant general manager for the Cleveland Cavaliers and a scout for the San Antonio Spurs and most recently the LA Clippers. Blanks also played for the Detroit Pistons, who drafted him in the first round in 1990, and the Minnesota Timberwolves.

"Lance was a light for all those who knew him," said NBA executive Joe Dumars, one of his Detroit teammates. "It's been a privilege to have called him one of my closest friends. I'm eternally grateful for all the support he has shown me throughout the years. His legacy will be carried on, not only by his family, but by all those whose lives he touched for the better."

Blanks played college basketball at Virginia and Texas, which inducted him into the Longhorns Hall of Honor in 2007. He joined the Longhorn Network as a basketball analyst in 2014.

"We are shocked and saddened to learn that Lance Blanks has passed away," said Patricia Lowry, ESPN Vice President, Production. "A former Texas basketball standout, Lance loved the sport and brought so much passion to calling games on Longhorn Network and ESPN. He was a dear friend and colleague, and beloved by our Austin-based production team. Our thoughts are with Lance's family during this extraordinarily difficult time."

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.