Ex-Duke basketball 1983 captain Tom Emma committed suicide because of depression

Former Duke basketball captain found dead in NYC

Ex-Duke basketball team captain, Bulls draft pick Tom Emma jumps to death from roof of Midtown club

BY Rocco Parascandola, John Lauinger, Edgar Sandoval and Joe Kemp

Tuesday, June 7th 2011, 8:03 PM

Thomas Emma died in a fall from the New York Athletic Club in Manhatan.


Thomas Emma died in a fall from the New York Athletic Club in Manhatan.

A former Duke University basketball team captain jumped to his death Tuesday from the roof of a private athletic club in Midtown, police sources said.

Tom Emma, 49, jumped from atop the New York Athletic Club at 180 Central Park South shortly before 11:30 a.m.

Police found his body on the second-story landing of the Jumeirah Essex House next door. He was dead, cops said.

Emma, who lived on the upper East Side, was a member of the club, which has a common area on the roof. He did not leave a suicide note, police sources said.

“I can’t believe it,” said Johnny Dawkins, head coach for Stanford University‘s basketball team and Emma’s teammate at Duke.

“He was a great guy,” Dawkins said. “I have nothing but respect for him as a competitor. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

Billy Bitter, 22, came to the NYAC after hearing of Emma’s plunge.

“He was my trainer,” Bitter said. “He was a great man. He was awesome.”

Relatives told police that Emma had been depressed, sources said.

“Everyone is shocked,” a relative said over the phone before declining further comment.

Emma was team captain for the Blue Devils in 1983, his fourth season with the school. He was drafted by the Bulls the same year, but never played for the team.

The hoops player – a high school star in his native Manhasset, L.I. – penned a book titled “Basketball Player’s Comprehensive Guide to Strength Training.”

He was president of Power Performance, Inc., a company devoted to training young athletes.


This has been one of the saddest stories that I have posted. Maybe there are some people who are depressed reading this post. I have something below that you may find helpful:


What the Bible Says About Suicide

By CBN.com

CBN.com – Suicide. The word has a frightening air of finality. Laden with hopelessness, despair, and tragedy, it is a word that everyone wants to keep at arms’ length. “Only people who are really mixed up consider suicide,” you’ve told yourself.

But then one day that word entered your thoughts in a different way. You found yourself in an unbearable situation. You felt trapped and powerless. Ultimately, “ending it all” seemed to be the only answer. It isn’t.

There is another solution. It’s found in the Bible, God’s messageof love to you. This is your chance to discover just how valuable you are and how your life can be transformed. Read on.

Where Are You Now?

Probably you’ve asked yourself, “How did I get to this point?” The answer is … gradually. Everyone goes through periods in their lives when they feel down. Usually, in time, the sadness leaves and life goes on. But sometimes a difficult situation, a strained relationship or some other problem leads to unhappiness that won’t go away.

When that happens, life can become a daily struggle with uneasiness, gloom, and emptiness. Ultimately, depression and hopelessness can take hold, creating a feeling of dissatisfaction with life in general.

Depression has many causes. Often it is associated with a sense of loss that can be caused by a number of things — illness, the death of a loved one, sudden unemployment, divorce, and so on. A chronic illness, or permanent disability, can rob you of your independence, making you feel worthless, helpless, and angry. Losing someone you care about, through death or divorce, can leave a tremendous void in your life.

Guilt is another trigger for depression. Perhaps you’re struggling with drug or alcohol abuse — or some other habit, or behavior,that you are ashamed of. A childhood trauma may have left you feeling damaged and unworthy of happiness. Maybe you just feel like a failure because you haven’t achieved all that you wanted in life.

Whatever the cause, depression often leads to a sense of hopelessness. You may feel as though your life is out of control. You may think that ending your life is the only way to take control. It’s not.

Where Can You Go From Here?

You can keep going the way you have been, knowing where that may lead. Or you can give yourself a real chance for a better life. The fact that you’re reading this shows that you want another option. So, here it is.

There is only one real source of hope for a life that possesses meaning, fulfillment, and joy. That source is Jesus Christ. Speaking about His followers, Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you can experience overflowing love, forgiveness, peace, and joy in your life. That is a promise from God found in the Bible.

Does God promise that you’ll never have another problem? No. But He does pledge to give you the power to face life’s trials with confidence, knowing that He will cause all things to work for your good. He promises either to deliver you from afflictions,or give you the strength to endure them, according to His plan for you … a plan that begins with giving your life to Him.

By accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior and choosing to follow Him you place Jesus on the throne of your life. Spiritually, you become a new person because God’s Holy Spirit comes to live within you. Jesus described this experience as being “born again.” And, best of all, with your new life in Christ comes the right to spend eternity in God’s presence. Why not get a Bible right now and read these wonderful promises for yourself?

Look up these Scripture verses: John 1:12; II Corinthians 5:17;I Corinthians 2:12; I John 5:11-13.

If you have never made a decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you can do that right now and take the first step toward a new life. Simply pray this prayer and mean it in your heart:

Lord Jesus, I ask you to come into my life. I want to turn from living my life under my own control. Come now and live your life in me. Cleanse me from my sins. I receive you as my Lord and my Savior. I will live for you and serve you all the days of my life. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, please send us an e-mail to let us know. Or you can call The 700 Club Prayer Counseling Centerat (800) 759-0700. We would love to talk with you and send you some literature to help you begin your walk with the Lord.

Jesus said, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). If you just prayed and asked Him to come into your life, He did. And He promises to share intimate friendship with you.

Now you need to do a few things.

First, begin reading the Bible on a daily basis. Start with the Gospel of John in the New Testament. Find an easy to read, modern translation like the New International Version, the New American Standard or The Book (The New Living Translation).

Next, try to spend time in prayer every day. Just talk to God like you would a good friend.

Finally, it’s important that you find a church that believes and teaches the Bible. This is critical to your development as a Christian. Learn more by reading our teaching sheet on finding a church, and find a local church in your area through the church finder tool. For more information about your new relationship with God, please feel free to call The 700Clubat 1-800-759-0700.

Remember this: God doesn’t require you to be perfect. Rather, He desires your heartfelt devotion and willingness to live accordingto His Word, the Bible.

What if You’re Already a Christian?

Christians can feel depressed and have suicidal thoughts too. It can happen for all of the same reasons mentioned above. The trials of life touch everyone, including believers.

If the situation you are in is something you can’t change, know that God can intervene miraculously. As hard as it may be to do, continue praying for God’s help. Don’t stop.

God does hear our prayers, but His plan and ours aren’t always the same. Trust Him to respond in a way that will be to your best interest. That includes the possibility that He will give you strength and peace to endure your trial rather than deliver you from it. Some of God’s greatest answers to prayer come in the form of peace and joy in the midst of great hardship. Believe that He will see you through every storm in your life.

Read these Scripture verses and make them your own declarations of faith: Psalm 23; Psalm 28:7; Isaiah 43:2; Romans 8:28; Philippians 4:13.

Ask your Heavenly Father to help you live in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Bible is full of His promises to love, strengthen, heal, and guide. Begin reading God’s Word with a new purpose — to discover new insights about God’s love for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your journey and to reveal truths you’ve never seen before. Accept the fact of God’s love for you without relyingon your feelings.

Read these Scripture verses and receive them as God’s message to you: John 3:16; Romans 5:8; Isaiah 40:31; Isaiah 41:10; Lamentations 3:22-23.

Also, be prepared to acknowledge any sin that might be interfering in your relationship with your Heavenly Father. Ask God to search your heart and pinpoint any problems. Then, confess and repent of your disobedience and receive God’s forgiveness.

Read these Scripture verses for more understanding about dealing with sin: I John 1:9; Psalm 139:23-24; Galatians 5:16-25.

Do Something to Help Yourself

Professional help in the form of a qualified Christian counselor is one of the best ways to fight depression and thoughts of suicide. Look in the phone book and make some calls. Ask for references. A good counselor can help you get a new perspective on your problems. Get a medical check-up. Sometimes depression can be caused bya chemical imbalance or other biological factor.

Seek out a support group (starting with your church) that ministers to the area of difficulty in your life. Interacting with others who are facing similar challenges in their lives will help you feel less isolated.

Force yourself to do something the next time you feel down. Inactivity only makes depression worse. Here are some things to try:

  • Talk to someone. Call a friend and share your feelings.
  • Take a walk. Exercise causes your blood and oxygen to circulate faster, which makes you feel invigorated. Your brain produces chemicals called endorphins that fight depression.
  • Do something to help someone else. As you focus your attentionon another’s needs, your own cares will become less burdensome.
  • Listen to music. Choose your favorite songs and sing along.

If you need ongoing support, we encourage you to contact the pastor of your local church. With the guidance of your pastor, you might also consider seeking professional Christian counseling. Here are some national ministries that we can recommend:

The Association of Christians in Private Practice

New Life Ministries

Rapha National Network

Emerge Ministries

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: