Report: Former Wake Forest, NBA star Rogers paralyzed in ATV accident
Updated: December 5, 2008, 4:06 PM ETESPN.com news services
Former NBA and college basketball star Rodney Rogers is paralyzed as the result of an all-terrain vehicle accident, his college coach told the News & Observer of Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
Dave Odom, who coached Rogers when he earned All-America honors at Wake Forest and was the 1993 ACC Player of the Year, said Wednesday that his former star is paralyzed from the shoulders down, according to the report. "Say a prayer for Rodney and his family,'' Odom said, according to the newspaper. Rogers, 37, who had a 12-year NBA career and won the league's sixth man award in 1999-2000, was riding in the woods in rural Vance County, N.C., last week when he fell off the vehicle, according to the North Carolina Highway Patrol, the newspaper reported. He was recently transferred from Duke Hospital to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, which specializes in rehabilitation for people with catastrophic injuries. A Durham native who starred in high school football and basketball, Rogers had returned to his hometown and was working for the city public works department as a heavy machinery operator. He was promoted to a supervisory position six months ago, according to the report. He was also volunteering as a girls' basketball coach at a Durham middle school and had set up a computer lab at a city public housing complex, according to the report. His agent and lawyer, James "Butch" Williams, described Rogers as "an outdoorsman, plain and simple," according to the report. "He hunts, motorcycles, rides horses. He loves big trucks," Williams said. Rogers, who was financially set, took the job with the Durham DPW because he liked working with heavy trucks, Williams said, according to the report. "Rodney isn't the type to sit around twiddling his thumbs. There aren't any jobs he considers too small for him," Williams said, according to the News and Observer. "He started his own trucking company and was usually the lead driver. He'd be out there driving to the quarry at 3:30 in the morning." Michael Balzarano, who oversaw Rogers at the Durham DPW, said Rogers was not working for the city as a lark until he got bored. "I didn't even know he had lots of money. He is very friendly, very concerned, very conscientious," Balzarano said, according to the report. "We chose him because of his ethics and his attitude. He was highly motivated. He was promoted to supervisor six months ago." Rogers entered the NBA as the first-round draft choice of the Denver Nuggets in 1993. He played for the Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns, Boston Celtics, New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Hornets and Philadelphia 76ers until retiring after the 2004-05 season. He reached the NBA Finals with the Nets in 2002-03, and his trade to the Celtics during the 2001-02 season sparked Boston on a run to the Eastern Conference finals. In 12 seasons Rogers averaged 25.3 minutes and 10.9 points per game and shot 34.7 percent from 3-point range.
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesRodney Rogers was one of the NBA's best sixth men and a respected 3-point shooter during his 12-year pro career.