Former Miami Heat forward Pat Cummings dead at 55

Pat Cummings, a member of the inaugural 1988-89 Miami Heat, has died, according to reports out of New York.

Cummings, 55, according to the reports, was found dead Tuesday at an apartment in the West Village neighborhood in New York City.

The medical examiner has yet to determine a cause of death, with no sign of foul play initially apparent.

Cummings signed with the Heat as a free agent on August 29, 1988, just over two months before the Heat played their first game. He was in the team's opening-night lineup in 1988 as the starting power forward, alongside small forward Billy Thompson, center Rony Seikaly, shooting guard Kevin Edwards and point guard Rory Sparrow.

Among the final players in the league to play in short shorts, the stocky power forward spent two seasons with the Heat, waived on March 1, 1990, as 1988-89 second-round draft pick Grant Long began to claim his minutes. He was coached with the Heat by current assistant coach Ron Rothstein.

Cummings maintained a considerable presence on South Beach, including taking up residence for an extended period at The Clevelander hotel.

In all, he played in the NBA for 12 seasons, also spending time with the New York Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz.

He averaged 5.8 points over 90 games with the Heat, including 29 starts. He played 683 NBA games in all, averaging 9.6 points.

Follow Ira Winderman at twitter.com/iraheatbeat

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