Athletes come and go through teams and cities. Some stay in the spotlight while others can be lost with the passage of time.
It is about those athletes we ask: Where are they now?
Then: Saint Joseph's University Hall of Famer and Sixers player and head coach.
Now: Recently retired freshman team coach at Bishop Moore Catholic School in Orlando, Fla.
After spending almost all of his life working in and around basketball, former Saint Joseph's University All-America and Sixers player and head coach Matt Guokas Jr. was not ready to let go of the sport.
Between 2004 to 2013, Guokas, who was the original head coach of the expansion Orlando Magic, had been the television color analyst for the team and would’ve been happy to have continued.
The franchise had other ideas and did not renew his contract.
"Retirement was kind of forced on me because I got fired," Guokas said.
Not long after that, his grandson made a deal with him: He would keep playing rec league basketball if “Poppy” coaches.
“I don’t know where he pulled that out of the air from,” said Guokas, who had not coached at any level since stepping down from the Magic after the 1992-93 season, “But I said, why not?”
Guokas, who made the Orlando area home, discovered he enjoyed working with the young players, so he stayed on to coach the following season.
In 2015, Guokas, then 70, saw a job opening for an assistant middle school team coach at Lake Highland Prep school in Orlando.
He got that job and then moved on to become the freshman team coach at Bishop Moore Catholic School. Guokas, 74, coached for two seasons before deciding not to return for the 2018-19 campaign.
“My second or third year (at St. Joe’s) I began thinking, what am I going to do with my life when college basketball is over?” said Guokas, who was a 1966 second-team All-America for the Hawks. “I figured I’d get my teaching certificate and hopefully get to coach a high school team.”
He had not anticipated his long association with the NBA that began when he was drafted No. 9 overall by the Sixers in 1966.
As a rookie, he played for a Sixers team that won the 1967 NBA championship, and joined his father Matt Sr. — who had won the 1947 title with the Philadelphia Warriors — as the first father and son to win NBA titles.
Matt Jr. played a decade in the NBA and then joined the staff of his 1967 teammate, Billy Cunningham, who was the head coach of the Sixers.
He was an assistant when the Sixers delivered the 1983 NBA title.
"The way the city received it and the big parade was amazing," said Guokas, who would be the head coach of the Sixers for two and a half seasons starting in 1985. "There was a lot more interest in 1983 than in 1967. I remember in '67 that we arrived back at the airport from San Francisco and Bob Hope happened to be leaving after performing in Philadelphia. There were more people waiting to tell him goodbye than to tell us hello."
After his coaching career ended with Orlando, Guokas started his broadcast career, joining the staff of NBA on NBC as an analyst.