Former NBA player LeRoy Ellis passes away

LeRoy Ellis, who played 14 seasons in the NBA and spent the final three-plus years of his career playing for the Philadelphia 76ers, died on Saturday after a long battle with cancer. He was 72.

Ellis appeared in 1,048 NBA games with the Los Angeles Lakers, Baltimore, Portland and Philadelphia. He posted career averages of 9.7 points and 8.3 rebounds, and was a member of the 1972 NBA champion Lakers.

He was also a member of Portland's inaugural basketball team. Ellis was selected by the Trail Blazers in the 1970 NBA expansion draft. He led Portland with 12.3 rebounds per game and ranked third on the team with a 15.9 scoring average in 1970-71, his only season with the Trail Blazers.

"LeRoy Ellis was a very important member of the first Trail Blazers team and was a very high-class individual," said Trail Blazers founder and president Emeritus Harry Glickman. "We extend our deepest sympathy to his family."

Ellis and his family settled in Portland during his NBA career and continued to live in the area after he retired from the NBA following the 1975-76 season.