Jack Ramsey was a hall of fame basketball coach. He took the Portland Trailblazers to a championship in 1977 and also coached the Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Buffalo Braves successfully enough that when he retired he was the NBA’s second most victorious coach in league history. He also won several times the award for coaching in a wardrobe that would most embarrass a teenage daughter.
I never knew that Jack Ramsay.
The Jack Ramsay I was exposed to was the narrator of the basketball games of my youth. He was the broadcasting analyst for Miami Heat games from 1992 to 2002. He was the superego to his partner Eric Reid’s id. With the Heat currently being a fantastic team Reid’s comments about LeBron James being the greatest player in the world and calling Ray Allen basketball history’s best three point shooter make sense, but when the Heat were a mediocre team it was Dr. Jack Ramsay who reigned in Reid’s overzealous love for all things Heat.
Here is a snippet of one of their typical broadcasts taken from the transcripts of my memory.
“Look at that shot from Bimbo Coles, Dr. Jack don’t you think he’s the best shooter since Jesse James?”
“I don’t know if I’d go that far Eric, but that was a nice shot.”
“And another rebound by Rony Seikaly he might be the best rebounder in the galaxy, right Dr. Jack?”
“Actually Eric he’s not even in the top ten in the league for rebounds on this planet.”
“And there he is with a dunk.”
That right there was the highlight when Jack Ramsay would go from the voice of reason to an absolute maniac growling out exclamatories. When someone dunked it was a “SLAMMMAHHHH!!!!!” or maybe a “STUFFFFFAHHHH!!!!”
He was most enthusiastic with words containing the letter r. Besides the afore mentioned stuffer and slammer whenever longtime Heat guard Dan Majerle made a big bucket he would shout out his nickname like it was a weather advisory. “THUNDERRRRR!!!!!!!”
His favorite player was probably Voshon Lenard who when he made a three Ramsay would call out his name as though he took his suitcase at the baggage terminal “LENARRRRRRRRD!!!! LENARRRRRRRRRD!!!!! LENARRRRRRRD!!!!”
If there is a heaven Jack Ramsay will certainly be calling all the basketball games.