Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and head coach Phil Jackson are the names most-mentioned when people talk about the Bulls’ 6 championships in the 1990s. But assistant coach Tex Winter was just as important to that dynasty. The hall-of-famer died yesterday at the age of 96. WBEZ sports contributor Cheryl Raye Stout was at just about every practice, every game, and every victory during those glory years and knew Tex well. Cheryl, along with Chicago Tribune Bulls beat writer KC Johnson remember the legendary coach and his 60+ year career.
Tweets from Bulls Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen:
Tex Winter was my biggest critic. He was also my biggest fan. A few words about the legendary coach who lived his 96 years as well as anyone could have...Tex was a man of fundamentals. Ball movement + player movement = success. It was never about the individual. Without Tex, we may never have won a title. He taught us how to slice and dice our opponents on the offensive end. We had the GOAT, but it was Tex’s knowledge and triangle offense that helped us shred defenses. Tex was a perfectionist. He insisted that we execute with energy, passion and precision. No matter our opponent, he demanded the most out of all of us. Tex was tough on me early in my career. But he believed in me and gave me the confidence I needed to make the triangle work. He’d say, “I’m not criticizing, I’m coaching.” Tex leaves a helluva legacy behind. Student of the game. Hall of Famer. 9 NBA championships as a coach. He taught me how to become a better offensive player. How to be patient on the floor. How to take criticism. How to win. Thank you, Tex. Rest In Peace.
From Michael Jordan:
“I learned so much from Coach Winter. He was a pioneer and a true student of the game. His triangle offense was a huge part of our six championships with the Bulls. He was a tireless worker, and Tex was always focused on details and preparation and a great teacher. I was lucky to play for him. My condolences to his family”
Cheryl Raye Stout, WBEZ's Sports Contributor
KC Johnson-Chicago Tribune sports writer