The Donald Sterling mishegas is overshadowing the NBA playoffs, so I wanted to write about a more positive aspect of the game today. Unfortunately, that involves paying tribute to one of the finest gentleman in NBA history, Jack Ramsay who died earlier today at the age of 89.
In addition to being a great coach, Ramsay was an intelligent, personable, and decent man whose teams played team basketball at its best and most unselfish. Ramsay was a central figure in one of the best sports books ever, David Halberstam’s The Breaks Of The Game, which is how I became better acquainted with this remarkable man. His 1977 championship Portland Trailblazers were the epitome of everything good about basketball just as Donald Sterling epitomizes everything bad about professional sports. I came to praise Ramsay tonight for a long life, well lived, I’ll deal with the malakatude of Donald Sterling tomorrow.
UPDATE: Here’s Keith Olbermann’s tribute to Dr. Jack: