NEW YORK, December 31 – New York Knicks’ reserve forward Cleanthony Early was shot in the leg in an apparent robbery after leaving a strip club overnight, reports and officials said Wednesday.
Knicks coach Derek Fisher said Wednesday afternoon that Early was “doing OK”.
While Fisher indicated that the Knicks were not yet sure of the extent of Early’s injury, Yahoo reported that he had no structural damage in his knee.
Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis tweeted “Prayers for my brother” Early on Wednesday, while Knicks veteran Carmelo Anthony told reporters in New York that the incident reinforced the need to tackle gun violence in the United States.
“It’s scary, man,” said Anthony, who contributed to a public service announcement that aired on Christmas urging an end to gun violence.
The incident involving Early occurred moments after the 24-year-old left the CityScapes Gentlemen’s Club in an Uber, according to media reports.
A group of armed and masked men robbed Early after surrounding the Uber vehicle with their cars, reportedly robbing him of a gold necklace and even gold caps on his teeth according to the New York Daily News.
In the process, Early was shot in the leg, according to the reports.
A spokeswoman for the New York Police Department confirmed that a 24-year-old man had been shot in the leg in Queens but declined to name the victim.
“He was transferred to a hospital. No arrests. There is a investigation ongoing,” she told AFP.
The New York Knicks posted a short statement on their Twitter account following the incident.
“We are aware of what occurred with Cleanthony Early this morning and are relieved that he is not in a life-threatening situation,” the Knicks said.
“We will not comment any further until we receive more information.”
Early, a native of the New York borough of the Bronx, is playing his second season for the Knicks.
Knicks general manager Steve Mills, Fisher and the team’s head of security addressed players before they trained on Wednesday.
“The only thing we can really do is get away from it for a day,” Anthony said.
“This is life and death. What we’re dealing with is a game, it’s basketball. We can come back and get after it tomorrow. We should take this day and just kind of get away from it and count our blessings because this situation could have much uglier for Cle.”