Jack Mckinney, Jack Ramsey, Lakers discussed on Westward



Threw up everything and Jerry tarkanian all of a sudden wasn't really ready mentally or emotionally state of UNLV. Bus would then turn to the highly regarded assistant coach of the Portland Trail Blazers. Jack McKinney. McKinney was a highly regarded basketball coach. He had been the head coach at saint Joe's and Philadelphia. It was a really, really good coach, had been around Bill Walton in Portland around Jack Ramsey, in Portland. Came to LA, was thrilled with what he had to work with. He loved Jack McKinney. And the Lakers get off to a great start. The Lakers would jump out to a 9 four record before misfortune would strike once again. Then they have an off day, and Jack McKinney decides to ask Paul Weston if he wants to play tennis. So he rides his bicycle and he stops short. He's not wearing a helmet and he flips over the handlebars and lands on his head on the concrete. This is how early in the end, I mean, it's actually crazy. He was a head coach at Los Angeles Lakers, and he shows up at the hospital as a John Doe. They do not know who he is. You know when he suffered major major damage. And that was the end. With McKinney's head injury, his assistant Paul west head would have to take the reins of coaching on an interim basis. West had learned the game of basketball on the streets of Philadelphia as a youth. And despite never having played in high school while at Philadelphia's west Catholic, he still managed to get a scholarship to saint Joe's, where he played for future Hall of Fame coach, Jack Ramsey. Jack Ramsey, who turned my whole life around as a person and as a coach, so I kind of modeled myself after coach Ramsey. I wouldn't say I always wanted to be a coach. My goal going through college as I was playing was that I was going to be a teacher. I like the classroom and after I graduated from saint Joe's, I spent two years getting my master's. But you know, deep down inside I always wanted to get involved with the basketball and I remember my first possible job interview I called Jack Ramsey and said, hey, can you help me? We said, I'll make a call for you. But you're really not a coach. You're destined to be a teacher. So I don't know if you're going to be a very good coach. And he made the call. Didn't get the job. Instead, it was Ramsay's successor at saint Joe's Jack McKinney, who would give Paul westhead his first big break as head coach at Philadelphia's LaSalle university. I worked for McKinney for two years, and he helped me get that LaSalle job. And it was kind of interesting. He helped me get the LaSalle job, and then he is the one who hired me as his assistant for the Los Angeles Lakers. So even though Ramsay was the one who kind of molded me, McKinney is the one who delivered me. With McKinney out, bald west hit would now have to deliver for the Los Angeles Lakers. I was their only choice by that I mean Jack was injured on a Tuesday and Wednesday morning we had a shoot around because he had a game that night and if I didn't show up, well, the trainer would have been in charge because back then there was the head coach and one assistant coach and they were kind of at least temporarily stuck with me. So I was like a substitute teacher who the lesson plan was left on the desk and I followed the lesson plan. Lakers owner Jerry buss would make very clear that Paul west hits substitute coaching duties would be on an interim basis. After the first game, I talked to Jerry buss and he said, okay, there's a couple more games coming up this weekend, we want you to stay on with us as our coach. And he said, we'll talk in a few days. And I think we won two or three of the first few games. So at least there was a little relaxation. Had we lost that opening game? I probably would have coached my last game. We were losing and with about ten seconds ago, Jamal Wilkes gave one of his classic jump shots that he just flings the ball. A 17 foot slingshot is good. David hit Goliath again. Timeout 78, 78. You'll never know how it would ever go in, but it did. But Paul west hits vigorously would be with the liquor players in particular, they're all star center and captain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Instinctively what I learned about Kareem is you don't want to overwhelm him with your ability and how smart you are or hey, if you would just drop your shoulder a little bit, it might go a little better. So I was at least smart enough to know leave perfection alone. Like, the guy, as his own style, and he is the best in the world. So anyway, that allowed Kareem to seism me up and from that time on, we were friends, you know, we talked about literature a little bit, a little poetry occasionally. But it was always on his terms. If he didn't want to talk to you, just leave him alone. That meant he didn't want to talk to you. So I wasn't pushing. I think that really helped our relationship. He had also won over the new rookie Magic Johnson. Before the two even met. I showed up for the first practice at englewood high. That's where the team practiced then. We had no facility and this was a high school gym that they rented out, you know, a couple days a week. I showed up and Magic Johnson was there. And after practice, I went back to talk to him, and he said, well, I talked to coach Daly. That was Chuck Daly. We knew from the Detroit area. And he said, coach Daley said you were a good guy. Because daily and I coached against each other in Philadelphia. So with Daly's endorsement, you know, magic, you know, welcomed me. More than a month after taking over, Paul west head had the Lakers winning, had Laker owner Jerry buss happy, and had Laker fans in a frenzy. But what he didn't have was an assistant coach. I actually had one of the players trying to help me. I was done Ford. I said, hey, could you check some things during the game? And he did it for a couple of games. He said, 'cause I don't want to do this anymore. While Paul west had had only coached at the collegiate level. The assistant he would ask for had never coached at any. In fact, he was working on his broadcasting career as chick hearns color man for Laker games. His name was Pat Riley. Pat the word incredible doesn't even cover it. This is some kind of a super year. Well, a chick based on the opinions of a lot of people back last April the 19th and throughout the summer, I think the players have really taken that criticism to heart. I asked your bus if we could hire Pat Riley, bus initially was not happy with that. He didn't want to rock the boat. You don't want to get chick bad at anything. Really the boss. I mean, Jerry buss brought the team, but I don't know if he realized he also bought Chick Hearn who ran the team. Eventually, chick said to Riley, yes, you can leave. And that's how that Riley became my assistant. While Paul west had Pat Riley and the Lakers would go on to change the way the game was played. New owner Jerry buss went about changing the way it was presented. Says Jeff pearlman. Jerry buss, he saw this as much more than just sports. Like a lot of the other owners sought as a this is a team I own and they play a sport. Enjoy bus saw it as I own an entertainment venue. We're going to give fans cheerleaders

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