LOS ANGELES --
The case against Winter's election has always been odd, boiling down to the argument that Winter's greatest impact on the game came not as a player or head coach, but as an assistant, first with the Bulls and later with the Lakers. But even as Hall of Fame voters keep him out, Winter's peers continue to lobby for him to get in.
"I never cared about promoting dad for the Hall of Fame," his son,
Indeed, Winter's résumé is Hall-worthy. He began his career at the collegiate level, first at Marquette before moving on to coach his alma mater, Kansas State. In 15-years at K-State, Winter led the Wildcats to eight league titles and two Final Four appearances.
It was in the NBA, however, that Winter's genius truly became appreciated. The sideline triangle offense was about as popular as baggy shorts in Winter's day but Winter force fed it to his team at Kansas State and turned the Wildcats into a prolific scoring team. In 1985, Winter was hired by Krause, an old buddy from his days at K-State, as an assistant coach. Four years later, a spry, old coach named
"Jerry Krause was just named general manager of the Chicago Bulls [and he] told me that his first hiring was Tex Winter," said Jackson. "I had met Tex one time at an airport years before. I knew his reputation because he was with the Houston Rockets when I was a player. In the summertime during our rookie and free agent years, I was with Tex, working with him during that time, and learned the system so to speak, and that really gave us a balance of what we wanted to get accomplished with our basketball team."
Operating as Jackson's right-hand man, Winter taught the triangle to Jordan and
"His coaching record was impeccable," said Jackson. "Tex wasn't just any assistant coach, that's for sure. He was a guy that I designated moments of practice for him to take the team and skill the team in the drills that he knew well to help build the team into the kind of team that could react to the things that they still try to react to today."
At 88, Winter's coaching career is behind him. His imprint on the game is indelible, but his days on the sideline are probably over. Before the memory of his accomplishments fade, the Hall should rectify one of its most glaring errors.
They should let Tex in.