Former NBA Star Dies While Shooting Hoops at LA Fitness

Armen Gilliam collapsed while playing a pick-up game

A former NBA star and Bethel Park native died Tuesday night while playing a pick-up basketball game at LA Fitness in Collier Township.

Armen Gilliam, 47, collapsed around 9 p.m. while playing basketball in the gym’s indoor courts. A bystander performed CPR on him until paramedics from Kirwan Heights could arrive at the scene.

“He just collapsed on the court,” said Joe Wissel Jr., the EMS director at Kirwan Heights. “We basically did everything we could for him.”

Gilliam was taken to St. Clair Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:28 p.m., according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s office. The cause of death is pending an autopsy, which has yet to be performed.

"Armen was just a down-to-earth guy," said Jon Burton, a friend of Gilliam. "You would never know he was a NBA star—very unassuming. I'm sad to lose him, but at least he went out doing what he loved to do, playing basketball."

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Gilliam was a star player at Bethel Park High School before playing college ball at UNLV. He was the second overall choice in the 1987 draft and played professional basketball for 13 seasons before retiring in 2000, the Post-Gazette reported.


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