The National Basketball Coaches Association officially announced that Bill Bertka was named the recipient of the 2019 Tex Winter Assistant Coach Lifetime Impact Award for his role in scouting and player development with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bertka spent 52 years as a scout and assistant coach in the NBA — 45 of which were in Los Angeles. He became the league’s first full-time scout back in 1968 and would end up coaching essentially every Hall of Fame player to ever wear the purple and gold.
The 91-year-old experienced firsthand all the highs and lows the Lakers went through over the years. He has had a hand in every dynasty the Lakers put together starting with Wilt Chamberlain and ending with Kobe Bryant all while cycling through 17 different head coaches during that time.
As President of the National Basketball Coaches Association, Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle commented on how deserving Bertka is of receiving this award.
“Bill Bertka is an NBA coaching legend and a true basketball lifer,” said Dallas Mavericks Head Coach and National Basketball Coaches Association President Rick Carlisle. “He is extremely passionate about his craft and has coached and mentored so many of our great NBA players from Wilt Chamberlain to Kobe Bryant. Congratulations to Coach Bertka on this prestigious recognition.”
Bertka was not shy about expressing how honored he was to win after recognizing it as one of his crowning achievements.
“I am honored and proud to have been selected for the Tex Winter Assistant Coach Lifetime Impact Award by a committee of my coaching peers, said Coach Bill Bertka.” “I am sincerely grateful to the National Basketball Coaches Association for this recognition.”
The Tex Winter Lifetime Achievement Award is given annually to a candidate that best exemplifies the standards set by Winter. The voting committee headed by Carlisle includes some of the most notable coaches and executives in the league.
There is no question that Bertka is certainly more than deserving of this honor considering seldom people have made as much of an impact through the years as he has. The game has undergone many changes since he first started in 1968, but he managed to progress with each decade to help put together one formidable championship team after another.
All in all, Bertka has 10 championship rings and a laundry list of Hall of Fame players he coached under his resume. It is safe to say that he helped leave the Lakers in a much better place than when he found it.