Greg Ballard, who played 11 NBA seasons and helped the Washington Bullets win the league title in his rookie season, died Wednesday from prostate cancer. He was 61.
Ballard, a small forward who was the No. 4 overall pick out of Oregon in the 1977 draft, played in the NBA from 1977 to 1988. He played eight seasons with the Bullets (now Wizards) and two with the Golden State Warriors. After taking the 1987-88 season off, he returned to play two games for the Seattle SuperSonics and then retired.
He averaged 12.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists in his career. He won a championship with the Bullets in 1978, when Washington defeated the Sonics in six games in the NBA Finals.
The Wizards and Oregon, where Ballard is the all-time leader in rebounds (1,114), paid tribute to Ballard on Twitter on Wednesday.
We are all deeply saddened by the passing of Greg Ballard and send our thoughts to his family, friends and fans. pic.twitter.com/e5LRnMAAb1— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) November 9, 2016
@kerryeggers A Kamikaze Kid and one of Oregon's all-time legends. RIP Greg Ballard.— Oregon Basketball (@OregonMBB) November 9, 2016
Following his playing career, Ballard was an assistant coach and scout with the Atlanta Hawks for nine seasons (2004-13). He has been a scout for the Wizards the past two seasons.
Ballard told the Portland Tribune in April that he had been battling cancer for the past four years.