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Original Issue

Thanks for The Calls

As Jack Ramsay hangs up his mike, the NBA loses an admired and instructive voice

The MEDIA Circus

Staffers at ESPN affectionately call him Rambo because, even deep into his 80s, Jack Ramsay remains a commanding force. He is fanatical about exercise and until recently performed a morning routine of calisthenics and swims in the Gulf of Mexico near his home in Naples, Fla. A Hall of Fame NBA coach and longtime analyst, he possesses a similar passion for basketball and people, asking questions of everyone he encounters, from players to the taxi driver taking him to his hotel. "He doesn't think he knows everything, and he frankly does know everything," says ESPN/ABC play-by-play announcer Mike Breen. "But he still thinks he can learn from others."

For all who love pro basketball on the radio, Ramsay's absence this postseason has been rough. Last month The Miami Herald reported that the 88-year-old Ramsay's broadcasting career is likely over as he undergoes medical treatment. His son Chris, senior editor of's NBA coverage, politely declined to discuss his father's condition, but the elder Ramsay was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1999 and has received chemotherapy for various forms of cancer in the years since. Ramsay had served as a Finals analyst for ESPN Radio since joining the network full time in 1996. "Sometimes the pain was incredible for him, but he never missed a meeting or a game," says ESPN/ABC broadcaster Hubie Brown.

Dr. Jack, as he was also known (he earned a Ph.D. in Education from Penn) started out as a coach. He led St. Joseph's to 10 postseason appearances between 1955--56 and '65--66 and spent 20 seasons (1968--69 to '87--88) on NBA sidelines, leading the Trail Blazers to the 1977 title. He then began a second career as a television color commentator for the Heat in the '90s, then partnered with the late Jim Durham on ESPN Radio for nearly 15 years to create one of the NBA's legendary sound tracks.

Ramsay was a straight shooter as a broadcaster, avoiding backslapping and bloviating. Best of all, he was an educator. You left one of his games smarter than when you came to it. "People respected his knowledge, his truthfulness, his insight of seeing all 10 players on every play, and the passion that he had," says Brown. "Jack Ramsay is the ultimate, a basketball treasure."



Starting per-game price of seats for Florida Panthers season tickets in 2013--14.


Major league games this year, out of the 1,013 played through Sunday, that have gone to extra innings, a pace that would break the season record of 237, set in 2011, by 29.


Odds of Johnny Manziel's winning a second straight Heisman Trophy, according to sports analyst Danny Sheridan, who made the Texas A&M sophomore quarterback the favorite in his 2013 preseason picks.


Pounds bench-pressed by 91-year-old Sy Perlis of Surprise, Ariz., a world record for a nonagenarian; his lift broke the previous record by 52 pounds.

0 for 28

Batting line for the Yankees' fourth through seventh hitters in an 18-inning loss to the A's, the first time in modern MLB history that four starters batting consecutively went hitless in a combined 28 or more at bats.



THEY ALL KNOW JACK A brilliant basketball mind, Ramsay (here with Kobe Bryant) has always sought to learn more from others.