Wayne Ellington was playing for the Lakers in 2014 when his father was killed in Philadelphia.
Brooklyn Nets guard Wayne Ellington was celebrating a big victory on the November night in 2014 when he learned his father had been murdered in Philadelphia.
Ellington wrote about receiving the devastating news in an essay published Tuesday in the Players’ Tribune, the site founded by Derek Jeter.
“I got out of the shower and was laughing with my teammates, and when I looked down at my phone I noticed that I had a bunch of missed calls,” Ellington writes, recalling how his then-fiancee summoned him from the locker room to a hallway at the Staples Center, where he found her with tears streaming down her face.
“Somebody got shot,” he recalls her saying.
“If he was still alive, that would have been the first thing she told me,” Ellington writes. “But he wasn’t. A man had approached him while he was sitting in his car and shot him twice in the head. No motive was ever given. Nothing about it made sense. When you get news like that, it kind of overloads your emotions. There are too many things going through your mind at once to process. I just collapsed to the ground.”
Ellington, who was then with the Lakers, has said little publicly about the murder of his father, Wayne Ellington Sr., which happened in Philadelphia on Nov. 9, 2014. The Lakers had just beaten Charlotte for their first win of the season.
The elder Ellington’s killer, Carl White, pleaded guilty to the crime in February, drawing a 30-to-60-year prison sentence. The plea deal came on the eve of a jury trial, and Ellington said at the time that the sentencing would bring some closure for his family – though Ellington writes in the Players Tribune piece that the murder caused “pain from which (he’ll) never fully heal.”
Ellington, who has another year on his Nets contract, writes about his involvement with the Peace tournament in Chicago, an event that brings teenagers from neighborhoods with gun violence together to play hoops.
“I empathize with these kids,” says Ellington. “They have no idea how big the world is, or how much their actions can affect their future and the lives of others. They don’t understand that the bad situation they’re in now is temporary. They can get out.”