Credit: AP Photo/Michael Conroy
Credit AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Caleb Swanigan, the former Homestead and Purdue standout who played in the NBA, has died. He was 25. The Allen County Coroner’s Office confirmed that Swanigan died of natural causes.

Caleb Swanigan

Caleb  Swanigan
Position: SF, PF
Age: 25
Height: 203 cm
Weight: 113 kg
Birth place: United States of America

Swanigan won Indiana's coveted Mr. Basketball honor after leading Homestead to its first and only state title in 2015.

He then played at Purdue University before declaring for the NBA draft. Drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2017 as the 26th overall pick, the deceased big man spent almost two years with the team. The Blazers traded him to the Sacramento Kings in February 2019 but Swanigan found himself shipped back to Portland in January 2020.

He saw action for the Blazers for 20 games since rejoining the team before the COVID pandemic forced the NBA to put its season on hold. The 24-year-old opted out of playing in the NBA bubble in July 2020 and he got arrested in Indiana for possession of marijuana in December 2020. He averaged 2.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in 75 games for the Blazers and the Kings.

Swanigan, who experienced homelessness as a child before being adopted, eventually got a diploma in Educational History from Purdue. He also helped organize a fundraiser for homelessness and released music in 2019.

In May 2021, Damian Lillard defended his former Portland Trail Blazers teammate, who saw a drastic weight gain just a year after playing his last NBA game.

Swanigan looked almost unrecognizable when he attended a court hearing on May 17, 2021 for his misdemeanor possession of marijuana charge, for which he pleaded guilty.

"He's clearly having real-life issues," Lillard wrote as a comment on an Instagram post showing the past and present photos of Swanigan.

"You don’t know what it is he's going through to cause a drastic change."

Before focusing on his basketball career, Swanigan struggled with obesity during his childhood and adolescence. "I started playing at a high level and seeing other players and realizing that if I did want to play in the NBA, there are no guys who look like how I am right now," Swanigan said in a Players’ Tribune video.

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Points this season

46%
110,3
Points made: 110,3
Accuracy: 46,0%
Place in standings: 16
Record max: 142
Record min: 75
Best scorer: De'Aaron Fox