Jack Haley, former UCLA and NBA player, dies at 51

Jack Haley, former UCLA and NBA player, dies at 51
Former Laker Jack Haley and Utah's Mark Eaton, left, battle for a rebound during a game in December of 1991. Haley died Monday. He was 51. (Patrick Downs / Los Angeles Times)

Jack Haley, who went from surfer to the UCLA basketball team to the NBA, has died of heart disease, according to his family. He was 51.

Haley's family announced his death in a statement, "Our hearts are broken by this sudden, unexpected loss. Jack was honored and grateful for the opportunity to play in the NBA for nine years. … He cherished every moment and gave 100% whether on or off the court. And more than anything, Jack dearly loved his family. We are humbled and grateful for the outpouring of love, support and prayers form around the country."

The son of a world champion surfer, the 6-foot-10 Haley did not play basketball in high school. He picked up the sport at Golden West College, then spent three seasons at UCLA. He was taken in the fourth round in 1987 by the Chicago Bulls and spent nine seasons in the NBA.

Haley's journeyman career took him from the Bulls to the New Jersey Nets to the Lakers to the San Antonio Spurs, and then to the Bulls and Nets again. He also played two years in Europe.

"Jack was a hard worker and always very professional," Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “He was proud to wear the Lakers uniform, and he was always a credit to our organization and the Lakers family.  Our condolences go out to his family and friends at this time."

A complete obituary will appear at www.latimes.com/obits

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