BY: ABACUS REVEALS
The fashion-istas will remember the wacky wardrobe, particularly the loud plaid pants.
The purists will praise the selfless crispness of his Bill Walton-led Trail Blazers.
The P.J. Carlesimos of the world will recall growing up in the Delaware Valley hoping to play for the Legend that he already was at St. Joe’s.
Many know him only as a broadcast , sprinkling old-school insight upon the basketball universe.
I’ll never forget the Buffalo Braves.
Well before the arrival of the European ballplayer on the NBA scene and the inclusion of the term “Stretch-4” to the hoops vernacular, there was Bob McAdoo.
These days Bob McAdoo is the distinguished, gray-haired gentleman you so often see on the Miami Heat bench with the clipboard, Tommy Heinsohn-esque eyeglasses and stoic expression.
Four decades ago this willowy 6’10” man-child, with the same impassive visage and an unusual-looking jump shot, had amassed nearly 10,000 NBA points in a mere four seasons, thrice the circuit’s leading scorer, even its most accurate shooter during his sophomore season…all before his 25th birthday and all for the same coach, Dr. Jack Ramsay.
Ramsay transitioned an expansion franchise into one of those teams you don’t want to meet in the playoffs, twice extending my beloved Celtics to six games during title runs…and he did it by blending disparate talents into a cohesive unit.
He utilized the break-neck speed of guard Randy Smith from nearby Buffalo State. He had rugged Bob Kauffman, a pre-cursor to Jeff Ruland, Rick Mahorn and Detroit’s Bad Boys. He guided the outrageously creative but physically limited Ernie DiGregorio to Rookie of the Year status.
Mostly, he gave the green light on the offensive end to McAdoo, who had range well beyond 20’ even in those days before the introduction of the 3-point shot. Even the more mobile “bigs” of the day like Boston’s Dave Cowens seemed stymied by Big Bob’s versatility and quick release.
In short order after Buffalo’s second playoff loss to Boston in 1976, Ramsay was off to Portland, McAdoo to the Knicks and the Braves to the West Coast.
Everyone knows Dr. Jack’s Blazers came from behind to beat his home-town team for the 1977 NBA crown.
Not so many realize that the ’77 title was not Ramsay’s first.
Ten years earlier he was General Manager of that home-town team. The 76ers, featuring Wilt Chamberlain, repelled Boston and took home the brass ring.
Curiously, like Dr. Jack’s Trail Blazers, the ’67 top dogs were playing for a freshly-hired veteran coach, Alex Hannum, whose predecessor had been fired on the heels of a bad playoff beating from Coach Auerbach’s final team and despite winning Coach of the Year honors.
Hannum stayed for two years – and an amazing 130 wins.
Then on Oct. 18, 1968 at Philadelphia’s Spectrum, Jack Ramsay assumed the head coach’s seat on an NBA bench and did not surrender it for two decades and four teams.
Though recognized in the mid ‘90’s as one of the Top Ten Coaches in NBA History, Dr. Jack Ramsay never won Coach of the Year.
Neither did that Auerbach guy.
When he retired, Ramsay ranked second in career coaching victories, second only to that Auerbach guy.
Jack Ramsay belongs in such rarefied air.