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YouTube Gold: John Drew

One of the great flameouts in NBA history

Atlanta Hawks v Washington Bullets
LANDOVER, MD - CIRCA 1980: John Drew #22 of the Atlanta Hawks defends the shot against the Washington Bullets during an NBA basketball game circa 1980 at The Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland. Drew played for the Hawks from 1974-82.
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

John Drew is a long-forgotten name for most people. He was from Alabama and played at Gardner-Webb. He was good enough to be a second-round draft pick, by Atlanta, and established himself as one of the better NBA players of his era.

Unfortunately, Drew hit the NBA in 1974, at about the same time heavy cocaine use did. This was before the NBA had a formal drug policy and lots of guys became addicts, notably John Lucas, David Thompson and Chris Washburn, all former ACC players (Lucas, who is from Durham, went to Maryland while Thompson and Washburn both went to NC State).

After a number of problems - he was in rehab twice and had legal issues - he became the first player banned from the NBA.

Essentially, his addiction wrecked his life for years. In 2002, he talked to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and said that he was sober. He was living in Houston and was working as a taxi driver.

Drew lived until this past April, when he died of bone cancer.