Former Duke Basketball Captain Thomas Emma Dies in Suicide


A former captain of the Duke basketball team, Thomas Emma, is dead in an apparent suicide in New York City.

Police say Emma jumped to his death from the 12th floor of the New York Athletic Club in Manhattan Tuesday morning, landing on the second floor landing of a neighboring building.

Police say Emma did not leave a suicide note. But the New York Post reports that friends said the 49-year-old Emma was dealing with health issues recently. They would not say what those issues were.

Emma played for the Blue Devils from 1980-1983, and was a starting guard. He was a tenth-round pick for the Chicago Bulls in 1983, but never played for them.

"He could light up any mood and he was very quick witted. He was always a lot of fun," said former teammate and ESPN analyst Jay Bilas. "He was a great scorer. He could really shoot it from range."

"He was a good man. He made the transition from childhood to manhood a lot easier for someone like me," said former teammate Weldon Williams, 47. "I am very heartbroken."

Emma was running a company called Power Performance, a sports training firm that published conditioning manuals.

Tommy Emma was from Manhasset, NY -- a town on the north shore of Long Island. Before attending Duke, he was featured in the February 13, 1978 issue of Sports Illustrated, where the "Faces in the Crowd" feature said: "A junior and three-year starter on Manhasset High's basketball team. Tommy, a 6'2" guard, is averaging 33 points a game and has 1,104 career points, 69 fewer than the school record held by Jimmy Brown, who also played some football."


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