It always was staggering to me to hear him on the call at big NBA games when he was deep into his 80s. ESPN put out a nice video tribute to Ramsay.
Also, props to PR guru Joe Favorito for reminding everyone that Ramsay and his Portland Trailblazers were the subject of David Halberstam’s terrific book, Breaks of the Game. Considered groundbreaking at the time and now one of the best sports books of all time, Halberstam followed Ramsay’s Trailblazers during the ’79-80 season.
From the review by Christopher Lehmann-Haupt of the New York Times:
And for slightly more serious readers, ”The Breaks of the Game” is a window looking out onto recent American social history. Is the transparency of that window enough to attract readers who haven’t the slightest interest in professional basketball? That’s difficult for a fan such as I am to guarantee. I can only say that few subjects come to mind that can provide a better overall view of America in the 1960’s and 1970’s than pro basketball does. That’s why it has attracted as restless an intelligence as David Halberstam’s. And that’s why ”The Breaks of the Game” is at the very least one of the best books I’ve ever read about American sports.
When Halberstam died tragically in a car accident in 2007, Bill Simmons did a column on the impact the book had on him.
“Breaks of the Game” was the first big-boy book I ever loved. Within a few pages, I came to believe that he wrote the book just for me. I plowed through it in one weekend. A few months later, I read it again. Eventually, I read the book so many times that the spine of the book crumbled, so I bought the paperback version to replace it.
Indeed, definitely worth reading. In fact, for me, definitely worth reading a second time.