Wayne Ellington calls father's unexpected death 'lowest of all lows'

Wayne Ellington calls father's unexpected death 'lowest of all lows'
Lakers guard Wayne Ellington drives between Trail Blazers guard Allen Crabbe (23) and forward Dorell Wright during a preseason game. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Reserve guard Wayne Ellington rejoined the Lakers on Friday after taking an 11-day leave of absence because his father was fatally shot in Philadelphia.

Ellington’s eyes welled up as he spoke in front of his locker before the Lakers played the Dallas Mavericks.

"Every game he would always text me, give me something to think about. And then after the game he would give me something to think about," he said of Wayne Ellington Sr.

Ellington got the news shortly after the Lakers beat Charlotte last week, their fist win after an 0-5 start.

"We were on a pretty good high ... everybody was excited in the locker room," he said. "Not even 15 minutes after that was the lowest of all lows that I've ever been at in my life. Life can play some tricks on you. Basketball becomes very secondary very fast when you're dealing with life issues like that."

Ellington said he heard from Kobe Bryant “almost every day” while he was away from the team.

"As our leader, he's been unbelievable," Ellington said.

Ellington has become an important rotation player for the Lakers after signing a non-guaranteed contract before training camp. He was averaging 7.8 points before Friday's game.

Ellington Sr., 57, was shot by an unknown assailant while driving. It appeared to be a targeted shooting for a reason that was unclear, a Philadelphia police official told the Philadelphia Inquirer.