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Former NBA player and executive Lance Blanks dies at 56

Suns sign unrestricted free agent Michael Beasley

PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 20: General Manager Lance Blanks of the Phoenix Suns host press conference for unrestricted free agent Michael Beasley on July 20, 2012 at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2012 NBAE (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

DALLAS — Lance Blanks, who played in the NBA for three seasons and later worked as a scout and front office executive, has died, his family announced. 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 Los Angeles Clippers.

Blanks also played for the Detroit Pistons and 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. The Pistons drafted him in the first round in 1990.

“My dad was my person. He was my teacher, my idol, my best friend,” Riley Blanks Reed said in a statement released by the NBA. “The love I have for him is simply immeasurable. He carried his family and friends on his selfless shoulders and he was the wisest man I’ll ever know. The path ahead is dark without him but he once told me that he trusted my sister and me to carry the torch of our family’s legacy. And we will.”