Remembering Bobby Phills: The Tragic Loss Of A Great NBA Player


In the world of professional basketball, moments of triumph are often intertwined with instances of profound sorrow. Such was the case 24 years ago today, on January 12, 2000, when Bobby Phills, a beloved member of the Charlotte Hornets, tragically lost his life in an automobile accident near the Charlotte Coliseum. The untimely death of this talented athlete left a void not only in the hearts of basketball fans but also in the fabric of the Charlotte community.

Bobby Phills, a 6’5″ shooting guard, had become an integral part of the Charlotte Hornets since joining the team in 1997. Known for his tenacity on the court and his dedication to the game, Phills quickly endeared himself to fans with his skillful play and infectious enthusiasm.

On that fateful afternoon of January 12, 2000, tragedy struck near the Charlotte Coliseum. Phills, driving his Porsche behind his teammate David Wesley at a high speed of over 100 mph (160 km/h). His car spun out of control and veered into oncoming traffic, colliding with another car. The impact caused the second car to be hit from behind by a minivan. Although the drivers of the other vehicles survived, Phills sadly did not make it and was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to a police report, both Phills and Wesley were found to be driving in a manner that was described as erratic, reckless, careless, negligent, or aggressive. While Wesley was acquitted of a racing charge, he was later convicted of reckless driving. 

The devastating accident occurred just hours before the Hornets were set to play the Chicago Bulls. The accident occurred as Phills was leaving the morning shootaround.

The news of Bobby Phills’ passing sent shockwaves through the Charlotte community and the entire NBA. Fans, teammates, and fellow athletes were left grappling with the sudden loss of a player who had become a symbol of resilience and hard work.

In the wake of Phills’ passing, the Charlotte Hornets and the NBA as a whole paid tribute to the fallen athlete. Memorial services were held to celebrate his life and honor the impact he had made on and off the court.

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