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Chicago Tribune: Tex Winter to be inducted into Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame

April 2, 2011 |  5:28 pm

6a00d8341c506253ef0133f331cef5970b-320wiTex Winter, a key architect of the triangle offense that helped spur 11 NBA titles with Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported.

Winter's induction brings closure to a long and frustrating wait to get inducted. When Winter received the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award before Game 2 of the 2010 NBA Finals, Winter's son, Chris, told reporters that Tex had received seven nominations to be inducted, though the limit is supposed to be five. When it was announced last April that Lakers owner Jerry Buss would be inducted in the 2010 class, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson shared that throughout his tenure with the Chicago Bulls he engaged in a letter-writing campaign so that his long-time mentor would get his due. "It's like Tex says, he's outlived all his contemporaries," Jackson said of Winter, who had been an active consultant with the Lakers until suffering a stroke in April 2009. "It's a hard shot for him to get in."

Now Winter's contributions will be recognized beyond receiving the John Bunn Award from the Naismith Hall of Fame in 1998, which recognized him as a contributor to the game. Winter was inducted to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame last February for combined 454 win total in head coaching stints with Marquette, Northwestern, Long Beach State and Kansas State, where he was selected the UPI Coach of the Year in 1959. But he had trouble getting considered for the Naismith Hall of Fame because he was mostly an assistant coach in the NBA, though he was the Houston Rockets' head coach from 1971-73.

"It's the dumbest ... I ever heard," Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said last year regarding Winter's long-time omission. "They should fire the whole panel. [Winter's resume] speaks for itself. Going back to college with Kansas State and what he did with the pros, he was the one who brought the [triangle] to Phil and you know what that dynasty did for the NBA and for basketball as a whole and then coming here and doing it again. I call him, 'Yoda.' He really taught me a lot. I know how Michael [Jordan] feels about him and we've talked about him a great deal too. You can't overstate the significance of the game."

--Mark Medina

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Photo: Tex Winter. Credit: Associated Press.