Dean “The Dream” Meminger, a former star for the New York Knicks, is in critical condition in a hospital burn unit following a four-alarm fire Sunday that authorities say could have been sparked by a crack pipe.
New York Fire Department sources told New York 1 News that Meminger, who has struggled with cocaine and alcohol addiction for many years, suffered from significant smoke inhalation and was found unconscious near his bed after the Bronx blaze ignited at 9:40 p.m. He is reportedly recovering at Jacobi Medical Center.
Fire marshals discovered in Meminger’s room and an adjacent hallway several crack pipes that appear to have been recently used, according to the report. Investigators are looking into whether drug paraphernalia may have sparked the blaze, the sources said, noting that the owner of the paraphernalia is still unknown.
A former star at Marquette University, Meminger, 62, was the Knicks’ first-round draft pick in 1971. He helped the team win two world championships during the 1970s, playing along such luminaries as Walt Frazier and Phil Jackson.
"I haven't spoken to investigators," his son, NY1 reporter Dean Meminger Jr., when asked if the pipe belonged to his father. "I'm just concerned about his safety. "We're praying and just hoping. We're asking New Yorkers, pray for him. He's a great New Yorker."