7 Black NFL and NBA players who died too soon in 2022

Athletes who were taken from the world too soon this year
7 Black NFL and NBA players who died too soon in 2022
Adreian Payne at the 2014 NBA Draft (Image source: Twitter – @Adreian_Payne)

The year 2022 has logged a a number of tragic losses, including in the sports world. Here are seven Black NFL and NBA deaths in 2022.

Marion Barber III


Barber was 38 when he was found dead on June 1 in Frisco, Texas. The official cause of death was a heat stroke. Barber was a running back for the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears from 2005-11. He was named a Pro Bowler in 2007 for the Cowboys after rushing for 975 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.

Jeff Gladney


The former Minnesota Vikings cornerback died at 25 in May after being involved in a 2:30 a.m. car accident in Texas. Gladney was a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Jaylon Ferguson

The former Baltimore Ravens linebacker died in June at age 26 from what has been ruled a drug overdose. He was selected in the 2019 NFL Draft and played for the Ravens the past three seasons.

Dwayne Haskins

Haskins was 24 when he was fatally struck by a dump truck in April. At Ohio State, he set the single-season passing yards and passing touchdown record in the Big Ten conference as a sophomore. After being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft by Washington in 2019, Haskins was training to compete for the Pittsburgh Steelers starting quarterback job for this upcoming season.

Caleb Swanigan

The former Portland Trail Blazers center died at 25 of natural causes in June. Swanigan grew up homeless with a father who only saw his six kids once every few months. In eighth grade, he was 6-foot-2 and weighed 360 pounds when he expressed a desire to play basketball. He went to Indiana and became a McDonald’s All-American in high school. After starring at Purdue, the Trail Blazers drafted him. In 2021, a year after he played his last NBA game, Swanigan appeared in court for marijuana possession.

Adreian Payne

Payne was allegedly shot and killed at 31 while trying to protect a female friend from an aggressive domestic partner in May. After he played four seasons in the NBA, Payne continued his career overseas. He’s best known for his playing days at Michigan State and his bond with 8-year-old cancer patient Lacey Holsworth.

Rashard Anderson

Anderson reportedly died of pancreatic cancer at 45 in July. Anderson was a former cornerback for the Carolina Panthers. He also played at Jackson State, where he and Sylvester Morris both were selected in the first round of the 2000 NFL Draft. Anderson spent his final years in Mississippi coaching youth football and working at a mental health facility.

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