Former Piston Earl Cureton dies at 66

DETROIT (FOX 2) - Former Pistons player and community ambassador Earl Cureton passed away unexpectedly this morning at the age of 66.

12-year NBA veteran Cureton was originally drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 58th overall pick in the 1979 NBA Draft. Known as "The Twirl", the 6-9 forward was a part of two NBA championship teams, the 76ers in 1982-83 and the Houston Rockets in 1993-94.

Cureton also played three seasons with the Detroit Pistons and spent time with the Chicago Bulls, LA Clippers, Charlotte Hornets, and Toronto Raptors.

Cureton played collegiately at Division I Robert Morris University before transferring to the University of Detroit Mercy for his final two seasons. His number 24 was retired by U of D on Jan. 23, 2020.

Statement from the Detroit Pistons Organization:

"The Detroit Pistons organization is deeply saddened by the passing of Earl Cureton, a person who meant so much to the organization as a colleague, former player, community ambassador and friend.  As tough a competitor as he was during his playing years on the court, he was equally kind-hearted, outgoing and impactful off it.  He represented our franchise with great passion and truly enjoyed working to give back and improve the lives of Detroiters in the city he loved so much.  We extend our heartfelt condolences to Earl’s family and countless friends and teammates during this most difficult time."