The Lakers announced on Tuesday that Guard Wayne Ellington will be taking an indefinite leave of absence due to the death of his father.
The 57-year-old Wayne Ellington Sr. was shot in the head on Sunday night while driving in the Germantown section of northwest Philadelphia. Fox Sports reported that Ellington Jr. and his family were “devastated” by the sad news. “We appreciate everyone’s support and ask that you respect the privacy of our family during this very difficult time,” he said in a statement.
Ellington Sr. was his son’s biggest fan and, according to his mother Betty Ellington, 79: “It was his whole conversation, about his son playing in the NBA.” According to Philly.com, Betty had no idea why her son was in Germantown on the fateful night or why anyone would want to kill him. “If he was shot there, somebody had to hear this and see this,” she lamented. “[The shooter] needs to be caught, because I’m really angry and sad, and it messed my family up.”
Chief Inspector Scott Small with the Philadelphia Police Department said that when they found Ellington he was slumped in the driver’s seat of his car, bleeding profusely from a gunshot through his head. Apparently, Ellington lost consciousness and crashed into two parked cars along the street before stopping.
Police ballistic reports found a bullet hole on the inside of the passenger door of Ellington’s Oldsmobile. Small speculated that the shooter fired his gun from close range through an open window on the driver’s side, piercing his head and lodging in the door.
Lakers Coach Byron Scott said after hearing the news he couldn’t stop thinking about it. “This is our livelihood, but this is still just a game,” Scott said. “This thing that’s happened to Wayne is real life. It kind of puts everything in perspective.
I think all of us, every now and then, during the game, after the game, before the game, will have Wayne on our mind.”
Ellington Jr., 27, is averaging 7.8 points in 5 games this season after scoring nine points on Sunday in the Lakers 107-92 victory over Charlotte. He is playing his first season with the Lakers after signing as a free agent in September. In Ellington’s junior year of college at North Carolina in 2009, he was named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player as the Tar Heels won the National Championship.