The NBA world was saddened early Monday morning by the passing of former Blazers coach Dr. Jack Ramsay. Ramsay was a mainstay in Philadelphia basketball and in the NBA for nearly the past 50 years. He was a head coach for the Sixers, Blazers and Pacers before becoming a broadcaster for ESPN Radio and various other outlets. He won a championship in the 1970s with the Blazers.
He spent some of his broadcasting years with the Heat until 2000. There he did, in fact, meet Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. Spoelstra was actually eight years old. Ramsay was there with Pat Riley, another young coach Ramsay helped mentor way back in the day.
Ramsay’s coaching web did reach all the way to Spoelstra, who became the Heat’s coach in 2008, and it did reach all the way to Miami’s championship victory last season as Spoelstra explained to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
“He gave me a play that he used quite a bit during his championship year, with the Blazers. And it’s a play that I’ve used from time to time after timeouts. We’ve affectionately called it ‘Ramsay,’ and it was one of the biggest plays in Game 7 last year, coming out of a timeout.
We executed it to perfection and Dwyane [Wade] got that curl for a layup, one of the biggest plays of the game. That play is called ‘Ramsay’ to us.”
There are probably countless other stories about Ramsay exerting his influence and having his presence on several other NBA coaches. He was always a knowledgeable coach and a great teacher of the game to players, coaches and fans. His voice will be sorely missed on NBA broadcasts.
Thank you, Dr. Jack. Rest in peace.