The Tragic Tale Of Bison Dele: From NBA Glory To Mysterious Disappearance


Bison Dele, born 55 years ago today, on April 6, 1969, in Fresno, California, had a promising basketball career. Standing at 6 feet 11 inches, he played center for several NBA teams, including the Orlando Magic, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, Chicago Bulls, and Detroit Pistons. Dele won an NBA championship with the Bulls in 1997.

Despite his success, Dele retired from professional basketball in 1999 at the age of 30. He felt he had earned enough money for life, having signed a lucrative $45 million contract with the Pistons in 1997. His retirement allowed him to explore the world. He purchased a catamaran boat named Hakuna Matata and sailed the Pacific Ocean, eventually arriving in Tahiti in July 2002.

On July 8, 2002, Bison Dele, along with his girlfriend Serena Karlan, boat captain Bertrand Saldo, and his brother Mason Dabord, lost contact with their families. The couple regularly updated their whereabouts, making their sudden silence concerning. Miles Dabord, Bison’s older brother, returned to Tahiti on July 20 but was alone. The others were missing.

During the investigation into the disappearance, Miles Dabord confessed to a horrifying truth. He claimed that he shot Bison Dele in self-defense during an argument. Fearing for his own life, Dabord also killed Serena Karlan and Bertrand Saldo. He then weighted down their bodies with bodybuilder weights and threw them overboard into shark-infested waters. Dabord’s confession was cut short when he committed suicide on September 27, 2002, by ingesting insulin pills.

Before his final NBA season, Brian Williams legally changed his name to Bison Dele. He did so to honor his Native American (Cherokee) and African ancestries. “Bison” symbolized freedom, while “Dele” meant “come home” in Nigerian. 

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