Former NBA player Jackson Vroman drowned in the pool at his Los Angeles home after falling and hitting his head in a freak accident.
Vroman’s friend, Dan Bilzerian, a professional poker player and the so-called “King of Instagram,” said on Twitter that the former basketball player “was sitting down, he got up to go inside the house, tripped on the stairs, hit his head,” and drowned in the pool.
The county coroner’s office confirmed Vroman’s death to the Des Moines Register.
Vroman was 34.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Vroman’s Friends Denied Initial Reports That He Was Killed in a Car Crash
Friends of Vroman denied initial reports that Vroman had died in a car accident. The information came from a tweet by one of Vroman’s former teams.
The coroner’s office told the Des Moines Register that the cause of Vroman’s death was not immediately available, as an investigator hadn’t finished a preliminary report. An autopsy is scheduled for later this week.
2. He Was Friends With Other Athletes & Celebrities, Including Justin Bieber
Vroman lived in Los Angeles and was friends with social media stars like Bilzerian, popular athletes like Reggie Bush and pop stars, including Justin Bieber.
Bush posted on his Instagram page, “Love you bro I miss you already can’t believe your gone I pray that God has mercy on your soul at the gates of Heaven and we meet again in the after life! I promise to continue our vision of Beach Volleyball Thursday’s in your honor and I thank God for allowing me to spend time with you on your final days on earth!”
Bilzerian said in an Instagram post, “One of my best friends passed away today, everyone who knew him loved him, Godspeed my brother..”
Former NFL linebacker Shaun Phillips posted several photos on his Instagram of him with Vroman and said:
I’m going to only think about the amazing moments that we had together. I’m not going allow the sadness in my heart to get the best of me. You will always be my best friend and I know you are watching over me. I’m going to Continue to make as many memories as I can to share with you when we meet again. The list of people that you put a smile on there face goes on and on. I can’t name the number of people that you have introduced me to that I love today. My heart is in a thousand pieces I’m trying to hold it together but this shit hurts so bad. Sorry I’m going on and on I just don’t know what else to say or do. To all my friends and family I love you all so much and thank you for the kind words. #ripjackson I love you brother and I can’t wait to tell you all my stories.
3. He Played High School Basketball in Utah Before Going to Iowa State
Vroman, the son of Brett Vroman, who had a brief NBA career with the Utah Jazz, is a native of Utah and played high school basketball at Viewmont High School in Bountiful, according to the Salt Lake City Tribune.
After high school, Vroman played for two seasons at a junior college in Utah and then transferred to Iowa State. He averaged double figures in scoring during his two seasons with the Cyclones.
A teammate at Snow Community College, Jeff Gardner, recalled the 6-foot-10 Vroman as a “legend.”
“He just had a very gregarious personality. He was very outgoing and just a really kindhearted kid,” Gardner told the Salt Lake City Tribune. “He certainly wasn’t an angel in a lot of regards, but his kindness and his ability to connect with people — everywhere we’d go, Jackson would have a friend.”
4. He Spent 10 Years Playing Pro Basketball in the NBA & Overseas
Vroman was drafted with the 31st pick in the 2004 draft by the Phoenix Suns. He was then traded to the New Orleans Hornets.
He moved overseas after the 2005-06 season, and played in Spain, Lithuania, Iran, China, South Korea and the Philippines. He played last season in Puerto Rico.
5. He Also Played on the Lebanese National Basketball Team
Though he was a native of the United States, Vroman played on the Lebanese national team after becoming a naturalized citizen of the country.
He played for Lebanon in the 2009 FIBA Asia Championship.