NBA

The Tragic and Accidental Death of Former Phoenix Suns Big Man Jackson Vroman

Those who knew Jackson Vroman will remember when the Phoenix Suns were among the NBA’s top teams.

Long before Devin Booker arrived in Arizona, Suns fans celebrated the exciting duo of Amar’e Stoudemire and Steve Nash. Vroman, a second-round pick in 2004, briefly spent time playing alongside them before he embarked on a long and successful career overseas.

All of that came to a tragic end in 2015, when Vroman unexpectedly died at age 34.

Jackson Vroman briefly played in the NBA

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Born in California, Jackson Vroman returned to the West Coast when he suited up for the Phoenix Suns in 2004. 

The Chicago Bulls used a second-round pick on Vroman and traded him and a first-round pick — one that later became Nate Robinson — to the Suns for Luol Deng. Vroman averaged 1.6 points and 1.3 rebounds in 10 games and one start before the Suns traded him to New Orleans in January 2005. 

Among the pieces moved in that trade was a second-round pick that the Suns later used on center Marcin Gortat.

Vroman averaged 3.5 points and 3.2 rebounds in 77 games and 19 starts for the-then Hornets through March 2006. Unfortunately for Vroman, the Hornets waived him only weeks before the 2005-06 season ended.

Vroman spent nearly a decade playing overseas

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Jackson Vroman had international basketball in his blood. 

His father, Brett, played for the Utah Jazz in 1980 but spent a decade playing in Europe. Jackson followed in his father’s footsteps beginning in 2006 when he signed with Gran Canaria Grupo Dunas in Spain. 

Vroman played in various leagues and countries, including in China, through 2014. His best success came with the Jiangsu Dragons during the 2011-12 season when Vroman averaged 15.8 points, 11.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.4 steals, and 1.6 blocks in 24 games.

Vroman also played for Team Lebanon at the 2009 Asian Championship and the 2010 FIBA Championship.

Jackson Vroman tragically died at age 34

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Nearly a decade after playing his final NBA game, Jackson Vroman tragically died in June 2015.

According to The New York Times, Vroman accidentally fell into a friend’s pool around 3:25 a.m on June 29, 2015. The autopsy and toxicology reports found a mix of ketamine, GHB (a depressant), and cocaine in Vroman’s system. 

Vroman had an overdose on that combination two months before he died. Vroman’s father, Brett, told The Times that he didn’t know about the overdose until after his son’s death.

“Of course, I would have liked to have known,” Vroman said. “I understand there may be a code that you don’t go running to someone’s parents. Jackson was an adult. I can’t put the blame on someone else. But you want to know.”

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