The San Antonio Spurs and NBA world were hit with sad news Thursday evening. Stan Albeck, a longtime former NBA coach and San Antonio Sports Hall of Famer, passed away on Thursday. He was 89 years old.
Albeck entered hospice care at his home on Thursday, John Albeck, his son, told San Antonio sports writer Tom Osborne. He did so after suffering a stroke on Mar. 14.
Albeck was an NBA head coach for seven years, his most impactful coming with the San Antonio Spurs (1980-83). He also coached the Cleveland Cavaliers (1979-80), New Jersey Nets (1983-85) and of course, the Chicago Bulls (1985-86) where he spent one season and coached then second-year player Michael Jordan.
It was Albeck who recognized Jordan's incredible talent and subsequently put him in dozens of isolation situations during the Bulls' 1986 playoff series against the juggernaut Boston Celtics. Jordan was phenomenal, scoring 49 in Game 1 and 63 in Game 2. The Bulls, unfortunately, went on to lose the series. Chicago then controversially fired Albeck just a month later and hired Doug Collins.
Albeck is perhaps most celebrated for his years with the San Antonio Spurs. He led them to back-to-back Western Conference Finals in 1982 and 1983.
Current Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich called Albeck a Spurs "lifer" after hearing of his passing on Thursday.
The NBA world lost a coaching icon on Thursday.
Stan Albeck will always be remembered for his passion for basketball, his moments with a young Michael Jordan and tremendous contributions for the San Antonio Spurs.