While the death of Jack Ramsay sent a jolt through the entire sporting world, the Hall of Famer's passing was particularly painful for Erik Spoelstra. The Miami Heat coach maintained a longstanding relationship with Ramsay going back to their overlapping years in Portland.
Spoelstra was 6 in 1977 when Ramsay led the Trail Blazers to the franchise's lone NBA championship.
When Spoelstra was 10, he attended a basketball camp hosted by Ramsay. And the two remained close for the rest of Ramsay's life.
Spoelstra went to a camp at age 10. Ramsay sat with Jon Spoelstra, and gave him a list of things Erik needed to do better.
— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) April 28, 2014
Upon Ramsay's passing, Spoelstra's family released this photo of the future Heat coach alongside Ramsay.
A young Erik Spoelstra and Dr. Jack Ramsay. So special. (Spoelstra family photo) pic.twitter.com/OKaMU6mZVZ
— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) April 28, 2014
After his coaching days, Ramsay moved into a role as a radio and TV analyst with the Miami Heat, and he went on to interview Spoelstra on many occasions.
— Eric Reid (@EReidMiamiHeat) May 10, 2013
Ramsay's mentorship of Spoelstra included lending the Heat coach a play that his Trail Blazers used during their 1977 championship run. The Heat ran the play during a crucial moment of last year's NBA Finals Game 7 against the Spurs.
"We executed it to perfection and Dwyane [Wade] got that curl for a layup, one of the biggest plays of the game," Spoelstra said. "That play is called 'Ramsay' to us."
Wade's basket put the Heat up by five with just more than three minutes to play. Miami went on to win Game 7 and successfully defend its title.
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