Absolutely gutted by this news, former Purdue Boilermaker and NBA player Caleb Swanigan is dead, at the tender age of 25. The cause of death was not known at time of release. However, WANE is now reporting it as “natural causes.”
“The Purdue basketball family is deeply saddened and devastated at the loss of Caleb Swanigan,” Purdue head coach Matt Painter said. “Caleb was a very thoughtful individual and a gentle soul who excelled both on and off the court. He made a huge difference in everyone’s lives that he touched and he will be greatly missed.”
— Paul M. Banks (@PaulMBanks) June 22, 2022
Swanigan struggled with his weight for much of his life, infamously weighing over 360 pounds as a teenager. A 2017 first-team consensus All-American, Big Ten Player of the Year and member of a conference championship team, he was also the No. 26 pick by the Portland Trailblazers in the NBA Draft that year.
During his NBA career, Swanigan worked extensively with Portland-area youth and FoodCorps to promote healthy eating habits in schools and eliminate child hunger.
• 2016 B1G All-Freshman Team
• 2017 B1G Player of the Year
• 2017 B1G champion
— Purdue On BTN (@PurdueOnBTN) June 21, 2022
Swanigan had two stints with the Blazers, but played for the Sacramento Kings as well. He opted out of the NBA’s covid-19 bubble, to restart/finish the 2019-20 season, and that marked the end of his basketball career. Photos circulated a year ago showing Swanigan having fallen dramatically out of shape and having gained an excessive amount of weight. That said, he battled demons that we should all try to empathize with and greater understand.
Instead of judging and mocking.
The NBA family is profoundly saddened by the passing of Caleb Swanigan, who played three seasons in the NBA after a decorated career at Purdue. We send our heartfelt condolences to Caleb’s family, friends, and former teammates. pic.twitter.com/8DGrg3ePW7
— NBA (@NBA) June 21, 2022
Caleb Swanigan’s passing reminds me of what Damian Lillard said about him and people judging Caleb when pictures of him circulated last year pic.twitter.com/1EQBBLXrFo
— Rob Lopez (@r0bato) June 21, 2022
Caleb Swanigan was born in Indianapolis and died in Ft. Wayne. Basketball made his very short life better, temporarily, but he had a massive struggle during his time on Earth. Born into extreme poverty, he spent some of his childhood homeless, living underneath a bridge in Utah. “Biggie” as he was affectionately and colloquially known, was also genetically predisposed to being overweight.
Rest In Peace ? pic.twitter.com/FoZVVVprsc
— Jaylen Brown (@FCHWPO) June 21, 2022
Right now, some are reporting his death being due to “natural causes.” Maybe that is so, but there is absolutely nothing natural about losing a great dude, a gentle giant, and a phenomenal Big Ten basketball player at such a young age.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”