Tragic news in the basketball community — longtime NBA coach Brendan Malone has passed away, the Denver Nuggets announced Tuesday. He was 81 years old.
“It is with tremendous sadness that we share the passing of longtime NBA coach Brendan Malone, who holds a special place amongst the organization and will be a Denver Nugget forever,” the team said in a statement.
After several years at the high school and college level, Malone served as an assistant with the New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic over the span of four decades.
Malone — who helped orchestrate the famous “Jordan Rules” used to beat the Chicago Bulls — was on staff for the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons teams that won the Finals in 1989 and 1990.
He was the first head coach in franchise history for the Toronto Raptors in the 1995-96 season. Malone also led the bench as interim head coach for the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2004-05 campaign.
Brendan is the father of current Nuggets coach Michael Malone, who helped bring the franchise its first NBA title this past season.
“Coach Brendan Malone was a great man who left behind a great legacy in the word for basketball, but he will be remembered even more for the amazing husband, father, son, and grandfather that he was and the profound impact he had on the friends, family and colleagues who were lucky enough to know him,” the Nuggets continued.
“Our thoughts are with the entire Malone family and all of Brendan’s loved ones who are feeling this loss today.”