It will sound strange next season to listen to one of the ESPN national radio broadcasts of an NBA game and not hear the voice and smart commentary of Dr. Jack Ramsay.
It will be stranger yet just not to have him around the game — he’s been involved with the NBA as a coach, general manager or broadcaster for more than 50 years.
But at age 88 he is expected to retire after this season. The NBA legend spoke to Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida about it.
“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.
Ramsay is in good health, but says he had stayed in broadcasting because he enjoyed working with his friend and play-by-play partner Jim Durham, who died unexpectedly in November at age 65. While Ramsay has had a lot of partners this season, the entire experience has him ready to move on.
After time as a high school and college coach Ramsay entered the NBA in 1966 to be the general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers — and they won a ring his first season.
But coaching is where we best know him. By 1968 he was the coach of the 76ers and he coached for 21 NBA seasons (864-783). He was the coach in the plaid jackets that led the 1977, Bill Walton led Trail Blazers to the NBA title. He also coached the Pacers for three seasons in the 1980s.
After that he got into broadcasting, which he has been doing with teams or ESPN ever since.
But he’s moving on now. Which is good for him but a loss for us.
“It’s been a great ride,’’ he said.
Sevyn Streeter said the 76ers prevented her from singing the national anthem at tonight’s game because she was wearing a “WE MATTER” jersey:
“The Philadelphia 76ers organization encourages meaningful actions to drive social change. We use our games to bring people together, to build trust and to strengthen our communities. As we move from symbolic gestures to action, we will continue to leverage our platform to positively impact our community.”
This is a continuation of Carmelo Anthony‘s argument: The emphasis should be on action in communities and there’s no longer a place for gestures like Colin Kaepernick kneeling.
But this needn’t be an either/or discussion. Community-based action is obviously important (though don’t assign responsibility to NBA players to fix racism). Recognizing the width and depth of the problem is necessary – which is why symbols matter, too.
Take Street’s shirt at face value. “We matter.” “Black lives matter.” What’s so offensive about that? There is no implicit “more” attached.
Yet, the 76ers found it antithetical to their brand.
This is why the widespread “unity” message preached by arm-locking NBA players left so much to be desired.
To the 76ers, unity meant silencing Streeter.
Is that what players were demonstrating on behalf of during the preseason? I’m sure that arena was much more united with a 76ers dancer singing the anthem than it would have been with Streeter spotlighted. But sometimes divisiveness is necessary to advance a cause.
If the 76ers don’t want Streeter using their platform to say “WE MATTER,” that’s their right. Not everyone has to support that choice, though.
No NBA players followed Colin Kaepernick’s lead by kneeling during the national anthem in the preseason.
But that courageous form of protest still found its way onto NBA courts.
A national-anthem singer knelt before a Kings game, and other did at a Heat game.
Another singer wanted to take a bold stance for the 76ers’ regular-season opener against the Thunder tonight by wearing a “WE MATTER” jersey, but she said the team stopped her.
A 76ers dancer performed the anthem instead:
The 76ers deserve some latitude to choose how someone uses their platform. But what about claiming black lives matter is antithetical to the 76ers’ brand?
The team did not immediately respond to request for comment. I will update if it does.
The Russell Westbrook era didn’t get off to the fastest start for the Thunder, who fell behind the 76ers early.
This Philadelphia fan got way ahead of himself (and any reasonable standard of decency).
Via Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report:
Oklahoma City responded with a 5-0 run, Westbrook scoring three points himself and assisting another basket.
The No. 28 pick, R.J. Hunter became the first first-rounder from last year’s draft to fall out of the NBA when the Celtics waived him.
He won’t be out of the league for long.
The Bulls, the only team with an open roster spot, appear close to adding him.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
Hunter belongs in the league. Though he must knock down shots far more reliably than he has, Hunter has potential as an outside shooter with complementary ball skills to provide value. Boston just had more NBA-caliber players than roster spots.
He’s far from a lock to succeed in the NBA, but I value Hunter about as much as Tony Snell – whom the Bulls just traded for an upgrade at backup point guard in Michael Carter-Williams. That they could so cheaply replace Snell makes that deal look even better.