Jack Ramsay Rumors

From 1993-94 until now, who are five coaches you have most enjoyed interacting with? Marc Stein: I’m incredibly blessed at ESPN, where I’ve had the chance to work closely with a bunch of great ones. Trying, again, to do this off the top of my head, I’m thinking of Hubie Brown, Rick Carlisle, Avery Johnson, Doug Collins, Mark Jackson, P.J. Carlesimo, Paul Silas, Jeff Van Gundy, George Karl and, of course, Dr. Jack Ramsay, who sadly passed away recently.
Now 78, Brown has followed Ramsay’s career for decades and their paths crossed on countless occasions over the years. He’s had decades to formulate an opinion on Ramsay, and so I asked him for a few thoughts on the Hall of Fame coach earlier today. “Jack Ramsay, a tremendous basketball coach, leaves a lasting legacy and a void in the coaching profession,” Brown wrote in an email on Monday. “His success will be well documented as will be the example he has established for coaches and mentors. He taught team basketball and proved a cohesive unit, playing together could overcome all odds. He was also always available and went out of his way to help coaches or players seeking advice and guidance. His constant involvement in fostering the game will leave a tremendous void.” “Dr. Jack Ramsay never forgot you and always asked how you were doing. A remarkable and professional human being and international coaching icon,” added Brown, who received the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ International Committee Lifetime Achievement Award earlier this month in Texas.
McAdoo called Ramsay “professional as professional as you could get” and said Ramsay’s attention to physical fitness was innovated for that era of the NBA. “When we were in Buffalo he brought a stretching guru in and nobody was doing that,” McAdoo said. “I was the most flexible I had ever been because Jack was into the physical fitness, and that’s probably why we were so successful in Buffalo. “We could get the ball up and down the court. We talk about the Lakers and Showtime but we had Showtime in Buffalo with Dr. Jack. It was very fun playing with him.”
Heat assistant coach and Hall of Fame player Bob McAdoo was heartbroken on Monday morning to learn of the passing of Dr. Jack Ramsay. McAdoo played for Ramsay in Buffalo and Ramsay introduced McAdoo years later when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. “When I got elected, he was the first person I thought about, and he gave me a fabulous tribute, and when I heard about it this morning I was just so sad for him because Jack was…he gave me my start in my career, and jumpstarted my career in Buffalo,” McAdoo said.
Chris Ramsay is Jack Ramsay’s son and an ESPN.com senior director. No matter what we say about Jack Ramsay today it will seem inadequate. It won’t be enough. He led such a great life. He did so many great things. He was a great man, a giver. In his public life, he was famous, a Hall of Famer, a world champion. He had colorful friends named Cotton and Hubie and Halberstam and Talese. He traveled the world teaching, coaching and broadcasting. He brought Wilt Chamberlain home for dinner. He was a basketball genius, a true innovator. He taught a team game. A pure form of basketball. Sharing and giving. With the right personnel, it was unbeatable. He pushed the very best to be even better: Billy Cunningham, Bob McAdoo, Bill Walton and Reggie Miller all learned from him how to elevate their games. Later, you’d see him talking with Tim Duncan, Kobe, KG and D-Wade. He was telling them how to be better players and teammates. They all listened, and they all got better.
Jack Ramsay, the intense Hall of Fame coach who in 1977 led the Trail Blazers to their only NBA title and later became a beloved elder statesman of basketball, died Monday after a 15-year battle with cancer. He was 89. The ’77 Blazers used Ramsay’s fast-break offense to overcome a 2-0 deficit to beat the Philadelphia 76ers for the championship, still Oregon’s defining sports achievement. Two days later The Oregonian’s front page depicted Ramsay as he rode a convertible through thousands of delirious fans thronging downtown Portland, his arms upstretched in triumph. “We all love Jack Ramsay, and we could never thank him enough for what he’s done,” said Bill Walton, Blazers center on the ’77 team. “He’s just such a phenomenal example of what a full life can possibly engulf.”
His brio for basketball and enthusiasm to entertain never wavered into his octogenarian years. Jack Ramsay continued to educate ESPN Radio listeners deep into his 80s, and even more importantly, he never stopped educating himself. “He doesn’t think he knows everything — and he frankly does know everything,” said ESPN/ABC NBA play-by-play announcer Mike Breen. “He’s always asking questions and was always curious. He’d ask me what I thought of a certain team or player, and I was almost embarrassed to give him an answer. I should not be telling Dr. Jack Ramsay what I think, but he wants to know other people’s information because he still thinks he can learn from others. Even though he is from a different generation, his appreciation of today’s players is as strong as ever. Sometimes you’ll talk to a player or a coach who coached years ago and they’ll say that today’s players are not the same. Jack doesn’t think that way. He changed as the game changed. He grew with the game.”
Former Heat broadcaster Jack Ramsay, a Hall of Fame coach and one of the most popular announcers in South Florida history, said he needs to begin immediate medical treatment and his broadcasting career is likely over. Ramsay, 88, declined to discuss the nature of his medical condition. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1999 and received treatment, several years ago, for melanomas “all over my body.” Ramsay said Thursday that the looming treatment will prevent him from working the remainder of the NBA playoffs, including The Finals, for ESPN Radio. He had been scheduled to announce Game 3 of the Heat-Bulls series on Friday. And he said he’s not planning to do broadcast work next season, barring a change of heart.
Ramsay, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1999 and with melanoma in 2004, said his health is generally good and his decision to step away is not yet final. But he said he likely will do so because of no longer being able to work with play-by-play man Jim Durham, who died in November at 65. “It’s not quite the same,’’ said Ramsay, who has worked with different partners this season on ESPN Radio. “I did it all these years with one partner, Jim Durham, and he passed away after the first game this year. We had a great rapport and I really enjoyed working with him, and working with him is really why I extended my tour of duty.’’
For more than 60 years, Jack Ramsay has had jobs in basketball. For nearly a half century, he’s been a general manager, coach and broadcaster in the NBA. But the time finally has come that Ramsay, 88, is likely to step away. Since the mid-1990s, the Hall of Famer has been an NBA analyst for ESPN Radio. But he said Wednesday he has told ESPN officials he likely will not return next season. “I think this will be my last year,’’ Ramsay, a Naples, Fla., resident who once was a Miami Heat television analyst, said in a phone interview with FOX Sports Florida.