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Brentwood teams observe moment of silence in memory of LI basketball legend's daughter

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak watches

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak watches Loyola Marymount play Gonzaga in a college basketball game in Los Angeles on Jan. 31, 2013. His 15-year-old daughter Alina Claire Kupchak died after an illness on Monday, Jan. 5, 2015. Credit: AP

Brentwood varsity basketball teams are holding moments of silence before their games this week in memory of a local basketball legend's daughter who died Monday.

Alina Claire Kupchak, whose father, Mitch Kupchak, is the general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers, died after an illness. She was 15.

"Alina Claire Kupchak, daughter of Lakers general manager Mitch and his wife, Claire, passed away this morning at the age of 15 after a lengthy illness," a statement on the LA Lakers website reads. "The family asks for and appreciates their privacy at this difficult time, and would like to express their gratitude for everyone's love, support, thoughts and prayers."

Alina was an accomplished tennis player, said Kevin O'Reilly, athletic director for Brentwood school district, and lived with her family in Brentwood, California. Some of Mitch Kupchak's family members still live in Brentwood on Long Island, O'Reilly said.

Mitch Kupchak, born in Hicksville, played center at Brentwood High School and led the team to league and county championships from 1970 to 1972, O'Reilly said.

Kupchak then went on to play at the University of North Carolina before beginning his NBA career.

"He is by far the nicest gentleman I've come across in my time here in Brentwood," O'Reilly said. "He's also a true family man, so this is just a terrible tragedy that obviously no one would ever want to have to go through."

Mitch Kupchak, "one of our most prestigious student athletes to come out of Brentwood," often travels back to his community and for the past two decades has sponsored a scholarship to one graduating girl and one boy who plays varsity basketball at Brentwood and is going to college, O'Reilly said.

A moment of silence was observed at the boys game Tuesday and another will be observed Thursday at the girls home game against William Floyd School at 4 p.m., O'Reilly said.

"I feel for him, the community feels for him. We have heavy hearts," O'Reilly said. "We send our condolences."

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