NBA Hall of Fame: Roland Lazenby discusses Tex Winter's Hall of Fame induction
For far too long, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame each year has announced an induction list that left out one important name: Tex Winter.
It left plenty of people confused and frustrated about why Winter's role as a key architect of the triangle offense didn't warrant a spot in the Hall of Fame beyond his "contributor" tag. Former Chicago Bulls General Manager Jerry Krause resigned from the committee in protest. Former Lakers Coach Phil Jackson campaigned for Winter's inclusion through letter-writing and comments in the media, but said he believed Winter wouldn't get in because he "outlived his contemporaries." Lakers guard Kobe Bryant argued testily that "they should fire the whole panel" because of the snub. And Winter's son, Chris, once told reporters that his father had received seven nominations to be inducted, though the limit is supposed to be five, efforts that hardly worked out.
Winter will be among those inducted Friday at Springfield, Mass., and Jackson will be his presenter. Winter didn't sound entirely thrilled about the news when he initially learned about it, telling reporters he was irritated because the stroke he suffered two years ago will prevent him giving his own speech. Longtime Lakers author Roland Lazenby, who's known Winter since his days as a Chicago Bulls assistant coach, argues that the new inductee has been wrongfully overlooked in the past because he mostly has been an assistant coach in the NBA, but that at least the snub didn't last forever.
"There was a little bit of loosening in attitude," said Lazenby, who's written about Winter extensively in books such as "Mind Games: Phil Jackson's Long Strange Journey" and "Mad Game: The NBA Education of Kobe Bryant." "But you couldn't be sure. He had been turned down so much."
Lazenby hit on a number of topics in the audio clip above. Click below the jump for the highlights
--He breaks down Winter's relationship with Jackson.
--He argues that Winter was hugely instrumental in Bryant's development: "Tex was Kobe Bryant's friend. That doesn't mean he coddled him in any way. Tex was never one to coddle anyone. But he understood Kobe had all of this greatness in him."
--He explains that Winter too often butted heads with Shaquille O'Neal: "Shaq and Tex never had a good relationship because Tex was going to say what he wanted to say and he was going to challenge Shaq."
--He details how Winter sees himself the "guardian of the game."
--He provides a medical update on Winter, who suffered a stroke in April 2009 and has stepped away from coaching: "Everything I hear is that he's not well. When you suffer a stroke like that, it's very difficult."
--He says he believes that had Winter been around the Lakers for the last two seasons, he would've made sure Andrew Bynum would've been held more accountable with his work ethic and attitude: "Andrew is a fine young man and he'll grow into having a work ethic, but I think he's been coddled. I think Tex would've eventually formed a relationship with him, built that trust ... and he would've absolutely had no coddling whatsoever."
-- Mark Medina
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