Knicks' Early shot and robbed in New York

NEW YORK • New York Knicks' reserve forward Cleanthony Early was shot in the leg in an apparent robbery after leaving a strip club overnight, reports and officials said on Wednesday.

Knicks coach Derek Fisher said that Early was "doing OK", while Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis tweeted "Prayers for my brother".

The shooting came a week after the National Basketball Association (NBA) threw the weight of its valuable brand behind an advertising campaign calling for an end to gun violence.

Star power has not shielded NBA players from violence and theft. Early is the second member of the Knicks this month to be robbed of jewellery after a late night at a club.

"We all are targets at the end of the day," Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks star who was among those to appear in the anti-gun-violence ads that were broadcast on Christmas, said of NBA players after practice on Wednesday.

The incident involving Early occurred moments after the 24-year-old left the CityScapes Gentlemen's Club in an Uber car, according to media reports.

A group of armed and masked men robbed Early after surrounding the Uber vehicle with their cars, reportedly robbing him of a gold necklace and even gold caps on his teeth according to the New York Daily News.

In the process, Early was shot in the leg, according to the reports.

After the shooting, which occurred around 4.30am, he was forced to seek help at the front door of a stranger's house.

A spokesman for the New York Police Department confirmed that a 24-year-old man had been shot in the leg in Queens.

"He was transferred to a hospital. No arrests. There is an investigation ongoing," she said.

The New York Knicks posted a short statement on their Twitter account following the incident.

"We are aware of what occurred with Cleanthony Early this morning and are relieved that he is not in a life-threatening situation," the Knicks said.

Early, a New York native, is playing his second season for the Knicks.

He has played in just 10 games this season, averaging 0.7 points and 0.2 rebounds in 3.4 minutes per game.

Less than two weeks ago, another Knicks player, Derrick Williams, was robbed of about US$617,000 (S$872,300) worth of valuables.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 01, 2016, with the headline 'Knicks' Early shot and robbed in New York'. Print Edition | Subscribe