Cleanthony Early of the New York Knicks Is Robbed and Shot in Queens


Cleanthony Early, a New York Knicks forward, was shot in the knee early Wednesday after leaving a club.

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Three cars converged on an Uber cab carrying a New York Knicks forward, Cleanthony Early, home from a strip club in the predawn hours on Wednesday, the authorities said, with masked men jumping out and shooting him in the right knee before escaping with several necklaces and gold caps on his teeth.

Mr. Early, 24, an athletic forward who has seen little playing time this season, was in stable condition after emergency medical workers took him to Elmhurst Hospital Center after the shooting, around 4:30 a.m.

He was heading home from CityScapes Gentlemen’s Club with a girlfriend when three cars boxed in his cab and forced it to the side of the road about a mile from the club in Maspeth, Queens, the authorities said.

A group of men streamed out of the cars, with some of them wearing ski masks and two of them carrying small semiautomatic guns, the police said. They ordered Mr. Early out of the cab.

The men stole his cash, gold caps on his teeth, an iPhone and two yellow metal chains with medallions, the police said, and Mr. Early was shot in his right knee. The Uber driver’s identification card was also taken. The woman was unharmed; none of her belongings were stolen.

The police said no arrests had been made.

The coordinated attack was the second time in a matter of weeks that a young Knicks player has been robbed of jewelry after a late night out at a club.

On Dec. 19, Derrick Williams, a 24-year-old power forward for the Knicks, brought two women to his downtown Manhattan apartment around 5 a.m. The women spent about 90 minutes there before making off with about $617,000 worth of Mr. Williams’s belongings, including a Rolex, a diamond bracelet, a necklace and a Louis Vuitton bag, the police said.

The Knicks coach, Derek Fisher, said after that incident that the team did not set a curfew.

In a statement, the Knicks acknowledged the attack on Mr. Early.

“We are aware of what occurred with Cleanthony Early this morning and are relieved that he is not in a life-threatening situation,” the statement read. “We will not comment any further until we receive more information.”

Mr. Early, a native of Middletown, N.Y., in Orange County, was a late bloomer in basketball. He played two years at junior college before becoming a star at Wichita State University. In 2014, the Knicks selected him 34th overall in the N.B.A. draft.

As an athletic, 6-foot-8 forward, Mr. Early was seen as a promising project for the Knicks and a possible late steal in the draft. But he has failed in the last two seasons to find a regular role on the team, even as it struggled. Last season, he played in 39 games, averaging 5.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 16.6 minutes per contest.

Mr. Early’s playing time has been even less consistent this season. He has played just 10 games, averaging 0.7 points and 0.2 rebounds in 3.4 minutes per game. He was on the court for just 29 seconds in the Knicks’ victory on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. He played 6 seconds on Sunday in their game in Boston.

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