Ramsay spent a decade in Portland,
with mostly successful results, but he never recaptured the glory of his first
season there. (The Blazers' challenging 1979–80 season is detailed in David
Halberstam's The Breaks of the Game, often included on lists of the
all-time best sports books.) The team-focused game that he championed began to
give way to a more star-focused model, and Ramsay ended his coaching career
with a brief stint in Indiana before transitioning to a much-praised
commentator role for the Miami Heat and ESPN.
A triathlete into his old age,
Ramsay was an early and passionate advocate of rigorous physical conditioning
for pro athletes, and his teamwork-based approach endeared him to his players.
"The thing about Jack was he allowed freedom within the team
concept," said Johnny Davis. "We were like a great jazz band, where
each person could solo, but he had to come back to the group to keep the groove
moving forward. Then the next person might have a chance to solo the next
night, but he needed the beat of the rest of us." Bill Walton described
him as "the conquest of substance over hype."
Jack Ramsay died of cancer on April 28. He was
89. Bill Schenley, Deceased Hose, Drunkasaskunk, Ed V, and Gerard Tierney get 5
points each for the hit.