NAPLES, Fla. - Jack Ramsay's trophy case resembled his life. Both were full, and eventually succumbed.
With friends and family simultaneously mourning and celebrating his life, the Basketball Hall of Famer who led the Portland Trail Blazers to the 1977 NBA title was remembered at his Funeral Mass on Thursday as someone endlessly devoted to his family, fitness, and faith. The former coach of St. Joseph's and the 76ers died on Monday at the age of 89, after fighting cancer in many forms for his final 15 years.
Chris Ramsay delivered his father's eulogy, calling him "a basketball genius."
"His teams were an extension of himself," Chris Ramsay said. "They were smart, and they outworked the opponent. He taught a team game, where sharing and giving was required. His game, when executed properly by the right personnel, was unbeatable. ... His trophy case collapsed under the weight of all the awards."
Pat Riley, Erik Spoelstra, Billy Cunningham, Bob McAdoo, Phil Martelli, and former referee Bob Delaney were among those attending from the basketball world, along with former coach Jim O'Brien, Ramsay's son-in-law.
Many broadcasting colleagues of the man best known as "Dr. Jack" were also at the funeral, inside St. John the Evangelist Church.
But the overriding theme of the funeral was not basketball. It was faith.
"We're celebrating the life of a child of God and a man of faith," said the Rev. John J. Ludden, the church's pastor.