One of the best people the NBA ever gave fans was Dr. Jack Ramsay. The coach of that fantastic 1976-77 Portland Trail Blazers team that captured an NBA championship with the first (and best) version of the fast-breaking offense, Dr. Ramsay (he had a doctorate in education) passed away Monday morning after a 10-year battle with cancer. The NBA looks back on one of the most adroit minds in the game.
Yesterday, I looked all over my apartment for my beat up, and heavily scribbled in, version of the best basketball book ever written: David Halberstam’s The Breaks of the Game. I wanted to re-live the first moment I learned about the genius Dr. Jack, the man who, for one brief shining moment (and many others that have been forgotten) assembled perhaps the most perfect fast-breaking collection of players in NBA history.
I couldn’t find it (note, it’s probably in my parent’s attic, which I am really pissed about). I wanted to quote Halberstam when it came to Jack, like Dr. Ramsay did when Halberstam passed away in 2007.
Instead, I’ll give you a nice donut homage to the the late, great coach in plaid:
In loving memory of Dr. Jack Ramsay. He coached the Portland Trail Blazers to a title in 77' pic.twitter.com/jDi4jZrofX
— Voodoo Doughnut (@VoodooDoughnut) April 29, 2014
And this amazing photo of young Heat coach Erik Spoelstra with Jack:
A (very) young Erik Spoelstra and Dr. Jack Ramsay in this Spoelstra family photo. pic.twitter.com/KJFF3fkjv2
— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) April 28, 2014
Jack’s son, Chris Ramsay, wrote an excellent tribute to his dad after his passing.
TNT’s “Inside the NBA” crew spoke about him after his passing as well, and Ernie quoted from Dr. Ramsay’s excellent 1978 book, The Coach’s Art:
“[Basketball is] a ballet, a graceful sweep and flow of patterned movement counterpointed by daring and imaginative flights of solitary brilliance.”
So not only was Dr. Ramsay a Hall of Fame coach and broadcaster, but he was a better writer than we are.
And the NBA paid looked back at the legend:
The NBA can never replace Dr. Jack Ramsay and his prescient insistence on physical fitness. The next time you’re winded in a pickup game, remember that Jack would probably be running you off the court.
We’ve lost a titan of the game and he will be missed by all who love the game of basketball.
Favorite ancedote about Dr. Jack Ramsay?
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