Bill Robinzine's friends around the National Basketball Association are...

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Bill Robinzine's friends around the National Basketball Association are trying to figure why the veteran forward apparently killed himself.

Police said Thursday that the body of the 29-year-old Utah Jazz player was found in the back seat of his car that was parked in a storage building on the city's southeast side.


'(Our) preliminary investigation indicates the death was a suicide and the cause of death points to carbon monoxide poisoning but an autopsy is scheduled later today,' police said in a statement Thursday.

Robinzine's wife had filed a missing persons report with police Wednesday morning after she returned home and found her husband missing and a note indicating he might attempt suicide, police said.

Robinzine's contract with the Utah Jazz expired at the end of last year and he had not signed a new agreement with the Jazz. Laura Herlovich, the club's spokeswoman, said there had been no negotiations about a new contract.

Herlovich said Robinzine, the team's player representative, had been thinking about playing in Italy this year, but had not been cut from the team.

Joe Axelson, the Kings general manager while Robinzine was with the club and currently the team's president, said he had talked to the 6-foot-7 Robinzine last week and offered to help him get a job in Italy.


'I could tell he was very despondent about the apparent end of his NBA career,' Axelson said. 'He was one of my all-time favorite people in the league. Bill was one of our most popular players in Kasnas City. We will all miss him very much.'

Former teammate Sam Lacey said he, too, had recently talked to Robinzine.

'I never saw any sign of it,' Lacey said of possible violence. 'But then you just see the good side of him. Bill was such a beautiful person. Everybody liked him.

'Things like that happen and you realize what is really important. It's really sad.'

Kings coach Cotton Fitzsimmons said, 'I am shocked to hear the news. My heart and thoughts go to Claudia and Steven (Robinzine's wife and stepson) and the rest of the Robinzine family.

'It's unfortunate this can happen to a young man. No one knows what drove him to do this. It's very sad that he felt that distressed.'

Last season he played in 56 games for Jazz, starting nine times. He average 11.6 minutes a game and led the team in free throw percentage, .813.

Robinzine, who attended DePaul University, was picked by the Kansas City Kings in the first round of the 1975 draft. He was traded to Cleveland in a three-way deal with New York in September of 1980. Cleveland traded him to Dallas a month later and Dallas traded him to Utah in August of 1981.


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