On Saturday, February 14th the Premier Basketball League lost someone very dear to them. Amir Billups, a starting point guard was killed in a multi-car pile up in Morrow County, Ohio, near Columbus.
Amir Billups is a 2008 graduate from Starpoint High School. While at Starpoint he scored 855 points as a four-year starter on the varsity team.
A humble person who did not let being a professional get in the way of his roots, Billups returned to Starpoint on March 19, 2014 for an alumni basketball game and won the halftime three-point shooting contest, sinking 9 of 15 shots.
After high school, Amir would go on to attend SUNY Fredonia Blue Devils to further his education. He graduated with a Business Administration major and a minor in Sports Management. Billups played on the Blue Devils basketball team for four years as a college athlete, averaging 12-points per game and tallying 687 total points as a collegiate athlete. While at Fredonia he picked up the nickname Bucketz for his skillful shooting behind the three-point line.
Billups joined the 716ers for their inaugural 2013 – 2014 season. During this first season, Billups averaged over eight points per game, scoring a total of 93 for the season. Billups rarely missed a free throw, making over 73% of his shots from the line. Offensive stats alone are only a partial measurement of the leadership he brought to the team. Billups brought a sense of confidence to the team and quickly turned into a leader on the court, both in practices and during games. This helped Billups earn the title of team captain, a title he continued to hold through the 2014 – 2015 season.
Amir, who is a second cousin of NBA star Chauncey Billups, was a promising young star who had caught the attention of teams in the NBA. Prior to the start of the 2013 – 2014 regular season Billups was one of a handful of players selected to travel to Los Angeles and participate in a NBA-Sanctioned summer pro league. In five games played he averaged 22.8 points per game, which was among the top five out of all players, and earned him all-star recognition for the tournament. His play also earned him a tryout with the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Developmental League (D League), as well as gained the attention of scout’s from Mexico’s LNBP, their top professional league. Billups played professionally in Mexico for one season.
Tawan Slaughter, owner & head coach of the 716ers:
“I have had the privilege of coaching & representing Amir Billups as an agent for the past three years. I am extremely thankful that I had the privilege to know such a great person on and off the court. He trusted me with his career, and always stayed loyal. He was very humble but could shoot the lights out! We lost him without warning. He was not only my player, but family to the Slaughter’s. You will forever be missed “Bucketz."”
Damien Goodwin, assistant 716ers coach & college teammate of Billups:
“Saturday around 8pm I heard one of my best friends, Amir Billups passed away. Words can’t even describe how I’m feeling. I lost a little brother today. RIP Bucketz. I love you forever."
Victor Arroyo, assistant coach of the 716ers:
“I’m speechless. I lost a good friend of mine. I’m hurting."
Devon Dawson, teammate of Amir on the 716ers:
"Amir was a nightlife person, he always stood out in the crowd because his personality was vibrant. He wasn't shy by a long shot. He was an all-around fun joyous guy to be around. He enjoyed downtime with his friends and never objected to the company of a pretty woman; nevertheless when game time approached, he was always laser focused."
Travonta Gatewood, teammate on the 716ers:
"He always called me country. He was just a funny guy."