Talented Ex-NBA Player Meets Tragic End
Fiery crash killed Griffin; career undone by substance abuse
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Aug 22, 2007 1:40 PM CDT
Eddie Griffin blocks a short during a Portland Trail Blazers/Minnesota Timberwolves game.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Several days after a fiery car wreck in Houston, the man in an SUV hit by a train was identified yesterday as Eddie Griffin, a former first-round NBA draft pick whose career was short-circuited by alcohol. The Houston Chronicle reports Griffin's body was so badly burned that dental records were needed to confirm his identity.

Drafted out of Seton Hall in 2001 to be the Rockets' cornerstone forward, Griffin never lived up to expectations in Houston, encountering substance-abuse and legal issues there and at subsequent stops with New Jersey and Minnesota. "He was a wonderful, gentle soul, but he was an alcoholic," said a lawyer for Griffin, 25. "Alcohol always got in the way."