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[Deathwatch] Yinka Dare, athlete, 32

Nigeria's Yinka Dare dies at his New Jersey home
Sun Jan 11

ENGLEWOOD, United States (AFP) - Nigeria's Yinka Dare, a former
first-round draft pick of the New Jersey Nets, died after collapsing at
his New Jersey home. He was 32.

A medical examiner determined that Dare died of a heart attack on
Friday caused by an arrhythmia condition that was discovered when he
was in college at George Washington.

The 7ft Dare played four seasons in the National Basketball Association
for the Nets and averaged 2.1 points and 2.6 rebounds.

While at George Washington, he led the Colonia

Mon Jan 12

He was largely unappreciated during his career, and still mostly
misunderstood right up until his passing. Only now, days after Yinka
Dare died of a heart attack, is the picture of the Nets' former
first-round pick finally beginning to crystallize.

Dare had often been thought of as a symbol of the Nets' futile years, a
man who failed to fulfill what Jason Kidd once thought was Hall of Fame
potential. Now, he's being revealed as a kindly, gentle giant who'd
dealt with asthma and arrhythmia.

"It's a bad situation. I feel for his family," said Lucious Harris, who
joined the Nets in 1997-98, Dare's final season. "Just 32, to have a
heart attack, that's scary. It always seemed like he was in shape. But
things happen and you don't understand why."

According to a medical examiner, the "why" would be the arrhythmia,
discovered while Dare was at George Washington. It caused the heart
attack, which he suffered on Friday while making breakfast after a
workout. He was rushed to the emergency room at Englewood Hospital,
where he was pronounced dead.

"He was a quiet guy, didn't talk that much. He worked hard - he didn't
really play much, but he was a fun guy to be around," said Kerry
Kittles, who played with Dare in the latter's final two Nets seasons.
"[He was] young: It makes you think . . . anything can happen any time.
It's in the back of your mind [that] it could happen to you."

Dare - survived by parents Gabriel and Joan, two sisters and a brother
- left college early and was the 14th pick of the 1994 draft. But the
7-foot Nigerian averaged just 2.1 points and 2.6 boards in four seasons
with the Nets, never fulfilling his vast promise.

"When I was in high school, I played in the Capital Classic, and we
were roommates. I thought he was the next Hakeem Olajuwon; he was just
as big as he was when he came out of college," said Kidd, who had his
injured finger bandaged but practiced and should play Wednesday when
the Nets host the Wizards.

"Unfortunately his NBA career never took off, but he was a great
person. I'd never seen a big guy like that before; I was hoping we'd
have a big room. But he was a big teddy bear, very nice."

Mike Jarvis, who coached Dare at GWU, told The Post, "Yinka was a kind,
gentle person. He was nice to my family, as respectful as anybody I've
come into contact with. I don't remember him having a bad word to say
about anybody; just a nice, sweet kid."