Former Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Tex Winter passed away on Oct. 10, 2018 at the age of 96.
Known as the innovator of the triangle offense, Winter started his coaching career at Kansas State in 1947 and made stops at Marquette, Washington, Northwestern and Long Beach State.
Along with being the Houston Rockets head coach (1971-73), Winter is best known for his stints with the Chicago Bulls (1985-98) and Lakers (1999-2008). Over a 23-year span, Winter was an integral part of head coach Phil Jackson’s coaching staff where they won 10 championships together.
“Tex helped lead the team to four NBA Championships and was a mentor to many of our coaches and players,” Lakers CEO and controlling owner Jeanie Buss said in a statement. In addition to his numerous contributions to the game of basketball, Tex was a wonderful man and he will be dearly missed.”
Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who credits Winter for helping him take the next step in his eventual Hall-of-Fame career, shared his thoughts on Winter on Instagram:
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My mentor. I sat with Tex and watched every minute of every game during our first season together (including preseason games) he taught me how to study every detail of the game. He was a basketball genius in every sense of the word. Basketball purest. I will miss him deeply. Thank you Tex. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you. Rest In Peace.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton also expressed gratitude for Winter during his playing career. “Tex used to always try to get me in the game. I love Tex,” Walton said.
“He’d sit on the bench, because he was all about fundamentals. I was talking to Steve a little about it, too, and we were just saying guys like us owe our playing career to Tex and people like that, that really teach the game. He lived an amazing life and he’ll be missed. I’m just grateful I got to spend some time with him and learn from him. He was an amazing man.”
For Winter’s contributions to the game of basketball, he was inducted into numerous hall of fames, most notably the 2011 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
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