Remembering Schintzius and “The Lobster”

The mullet hairdo.

That is what comes to mind for some when hearing the news that former NBA center Dwayne Schintzius passed away on Sunday afternoon from respiratory failure.

He was only 43-years old.

The passing comes after three years of battling Leukemia.

Back in 2009, Schintzius was diagnosed with Myelomonocytic Leukemia and was declared cancer-free in 2010 after receiving a successful bone marrow transplant from his younger brother, Travis.

Sadly enough, health issues arose.

Schintzius underwent a second bone marrow transplant, which were followed by months of complications from the procedure leading up to his death on Sunday.

A former first-round pick by the San Antonio Spurs in 1990, Schintzius gained prominence during his nine-year career more for his mullet — which he called “The Lobster” — more than what he did on the court playing for six different teams.

A 7-foot-2 center, Schintzius led the University of Florida to its first of three NCAA tournament appearances from 1987 to 1990. Although he left the program on uncertain terms during a coaching change, Schintzius remains the only player in SEC history to tally more than 1,000 points, 800 rebounds, 250 assists and 250 blocked shots.

Unfortunately those numbers did not translate to the NBA.

A back injury during his rookie season with the Spurs led to Schintzius being traded to the Sacramento Kings in 1991. But according to Schintzius, there was another contributing factor into being shipped out of San Antonio: then GM Bob Bass didn’t care for “The Lobster.”

“He told me to cut it,” Schintzius said in an interview. “So I got it cut and sent him the shavings in an envelope. I’m not sure he appreciated that. And then, away I went.”

Those who knew Schintzius say he was always cracking jokes and making people laugh. What a classic example and way to remember Schintzius.

After playing for the Spurs, Kings, Nets, Pacers, Clippers and Celtics, injures got the best of Schintzius.

He underwent surgery on his back, knee (twice) and ankle. His best season came as a rookie when he averaged 3.8 points and 2.9 rebounds per game, and he never played in more than 43 games in a single season. Six years before being diagnosed with Leukemia, Schintzius came out of retirement to play in the United States Basketball League with the Brevard Blue Ducks in 2003.

Gone too soon. For those who grew up loving the NBA game in the 90s, Schintzius — regardless how or even if he played — became a player and image you associated with that era. His passing serves as a reminder just how fleeting time becomes following this game and those who play it.

Dwayne Schintzius will be missed.

And so will “The Lobster.”