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Ex-NBA guard Mookie Blaylock critically injured in car crash

Former Hawks guard Mookie Blaylock was in critical condition Friday following a head-on car crash.

ATLANTA — Former Atlanta Hawks guard Mookie Blaylock was in critical condition Friday evening following a head-on car crash south of the city that left one woman dead.
 
Blaylock was on life support earlier, but Jonesboro police Chief Franklin Allen told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that his condition improved and he was taken off life support and in “guarded but stable condition.” Multiple outlets have reported that the 46-year-old's condition has improved.
 
At about 1 p.m. ET, Blaylock was driving northbound on Tara Boulevard in his Cadillac Escalade when he crossed the median. Blaylock struck a vehicle carrying two people. All three people were transported to Atlanta Medical Center, where Monica Murphy, 40, died Friday evening. The other passenger's injuries are not serious, police said.

Blaylock has been under treatment for seizures, a family member told the AJC; it's unclear if he suffered one at the time of the accident. Blaylock had an outstanding warrant on DUI and drug charges, Allen said, though investigators did not believe alcohol was a factor in the crash.
 
Blaylock, who is from Texas and played his college ball at Oklahoma, played seven of his 13 NBA seasons in Atlanta, from 1992-99. He was a two-time first-team pick to the All-Defensive Team and in 1994 he played in the All-Star Game. In 1996-97, his 221 3-pointers made ranked second in the league. That season and the following one, Blaylock led the league in steals. He retired with career averages of 13.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 2.3 steals.

His name struck such a pop culture chord that members of Pearl Jam originally named their band Mookie Blaylock, and they titled their debut album “Ten” after his jersey number.

The band was among those sending out support on Twitter.

Blaylock was a member of several playoff teams in Atlanta with teammates such as Dikembe Mutombo, Steve Smith and Jon Barry. He was traded in 1999, a move that allowed the Hawks to draft Jason Terry with the 10th overall pick.

“It was very shocking,” Blaylock told the AJC at the time, “especially when you’re with a team that long and you think you’re one of the guys that’s going to be around and you’re going to end your career there. But that’s part of the business. I know that’s how it goes.”

Among others reacting to Friday's news on Twitter was former longtime Hawks public relations official Arthur Triche, who posted, “Difficult emotions right now. Thinking of the families...”

Blaylock's twin sons, Daron and Zack, are safeties on the University of Kentucky football team.