The coronavirus is hitting New York City hard and on Monday it took the life of a one-time local basketball star.
Former St. John’s guard Lee Green passed away from the pandemic that is sweeping the country, his close friend and former teammate Lamont Middleton told The Post.
The 49-year-old Green was a retired police officer in Brooklyn and DJ who attended Tolentine High School and went by the stage name “El Dorado.” A Parade All-American in high school, The Bronx native played for St. John’s from 1991-94, reaching two NCAA Tournaments. He remained a St. John’s fan and attended its win over DePaul at the Garden on Jan. 11.
“He was our defensive lockdown guy,” St. John’s director of sports medicine and longtime head trainer Ron Linfonte said. “He could score if he needed to. He was one of the guys who really relished the role of ‘give me your best player and I’ll lock him down.’ He sacrificed his offense a lot for the good of the team, and he was everybody’s favorite.”
Across three seasons, Lee averaged 2.9 points per game, but as Linfonte alluded to, he was a key role player on two tournament teams.
“My brother, my teammate, it’s kind of hard,” Middleton said in a phone interview. “Cool guy. Everywhere he went Lee had a smile. He had a big personality.”
Green grew up wanting to play for St. John’s at a time when a large percentage of local kids stayed home. After doing a post-graduate year at Cheshire Academy in Connecticut, he lived out his dream, playing on coach Lou Carnesecca’s final team.
“It’s crazy,” said Sterling Nunnally, a St. John’s alum and friend of Green’s. “He was healthy and smiling and everything [when I saw him recently].”
Green wasn’t believed to have any preexisting medical issues. He contracted the virus at an event he was working as a DJ.
“It’s just a terrible thing that happened to him,” said Brian Mahoney, who coached Green his final two years at St. John’s. “It really caught everybody off guard.”
“To tell you the truth,” Nunnally said, “it’s scary, because it’s like nobody knows what’s going on. You turn around, one day you’re talking to somebody and the next day they’re not there anymore.”