The NBA has lost a legend. According to a report by Fox Sports on April 28, Hall of Fame coach and former NBA analyst Dr. Jack Ramsay has died after a long battle with cancer at the age of 89. An ESPN spokesman confirmed the news on Twitter early Monday morning.
Respected as one of the NBA’s most iconic figures, Ramsay coached in the NBA for 21 seasons. The highlight of his coaching career was leading the Portland Trail Blazers to the 1977 NBA championship. After his coaching career he took his NBA knowledge to the field of broadcasting where he again formulated the respect of those around him as a real icon of the game.
Unfortunately Dr. Jack Ramsay had to endure a battle off the court and away from the game that eventually took his life. After he was diagnosed with melanoma in 2004, the legendary coach had to battle tumors that spread to his legs, lungs and brain and also had to fight a diagnosis of prostate cancer. His most recent battle was a marrow syndrome.
It was his competitive nature that fought against cancer and solidified him as an inspiration. ESPN spokesman Chris LaPlaca confirmed the news as he wrote, “Dr. Jack Ramsay has passed. A rare man. Loved and respected by all. Fascinating life well lived. An inspiration to so many.”
In 20 seasons as a coach, Ramsay was a motivator, leader and mentor who emphasized fitness and selflessness combined with basic basketball skills as the keys to success. He made the playoffs 16 times and also won an NBA title while serving as the general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1966-67 season. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA in 1992, but he was inducted into the hearts of those he touched much more sooner. According to his family, Dr. Jack Ramsay died peacefully in his sleep.