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Fort Walton Beach NBA star dies at 46

FORT WALTON BEACH  --  OKALOOSA COUNTY - A Fort Walton Beach basketball star who went on to play in college and the N-B-A, has died at age 46. Dyron Nix graduated from Fort Walton Beach High School in 1985. He's best known for a very successful career at the University of Tennessee. He died Sunday in Atlanta, reportedly of complications from pneumonia.

When he arrived at Fort Walton Beach High School in the early eighties, Dyron Nix stood 6'2. He was the only sophomore on the varsity team. 

Ray Ross/former coach "He was an only child, his mother was very strict on him. She made no bones that unless he did his schoolwork, he wasn't playing basketball"

Nix grew five inches the next year. Coach Ray Ross took his 6'7 standout to basketball camps, trying to expose him to the next level of the game.

Ray Ross "He grew along with his body, and he grew mentally, but he was always a very tough kid"

John Lavin/FWBHS coach "Dyron was always full of confidence, he was never lacking in that area. Wasn't a big fan of fanfare and hype, he just went out and did his job"

John Lavin was Nix's teammate. He now coaches Fort Walton Beach basketball. He says Nix shared his confidence with fellow players, and it made them better.

John Lavin "I know that's a story or a testament I can really share, that he made....he believed in me sometimes when I didn't believe in myself"

The Vikings have retired number 31. Nix's jersey hangs on a wall that chronicles his accomplishments....signing with Tennessee, playing with the Indiana Pacers.

Coach Lavin says Dyron Nix never forgot where he started....even making financial gifts, so more kids like him could have a chance.

John Lavin "He lived 46 years, but they were a good 46 years. He got the most out of his life here on Earth"

January 10 is alumni night at Fort Walton Beach High School. The Vikings are playing Navarre, and there will be a tribute to Dyron Nix.