Tex Winter, who crafted triangle offense of Michael Jordan's Bulls, dies at 96

Tex Winter’s offense left a lasting mark on the NBA with the Lakers and Bulls. (Getty Images)
Tex Winter’s offense left a lasting mark on the NBA with the Lakers and Bulls. (Getty Images)

Tex Winter, an NBA assistant coach and Kansas State head coach whose development of the triangle offense got him inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, died Wednesday at age 96.

Per the Chicago Tribune, Winter had been in declining health since a debilitating stroke in 2009.

Winter gained fame in basketball circles as as an assistant coach under Phil Jackson, masterminding the triangle offense that would help net the pair nine NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers.

In addition to his NBA coaching career, Winter also spent more than 30 years in the college coaching ranks as a head coach, most notably with Kansas State. Under Winter, the Wildcats won eight Big 8 conference titles and reached the 1958 and 1964 Final Four.

Throughout his career, Winter elevated the triangle offense until it took firm hold of the NBA during the Bulls and Lakers dynasties. He learned the complex offense from its creator Sam Barry while playing for Hall of Fame coach’s USC program.

A constant tinkerer and a firm teacher of fundamentals, Winter leaves a lasting legacy with his colleagues and players, including his most famous player of all.

However, that was just the tip of the spear for an outpouring of emotion and remembrance for Winter on Wednesday.

NBA reacts to death of Tex Winter

Both of Winter’s NBA teams released statements attesting to Winter’s abilities.

“Tex Winter was a basketball legend and perhaps the finest fundamental teacher in the history of our game,” Bulls executive vice president John Paxson said. “He was an innovator who had high standards for how basketball should be played and approached everyday.

“Those of us who were lucky enough to play for him will always respect his devotion to the game of basketball. His contributions to the Bulls organization will always be remembered.”

Kansas State released a video commemorating Winter’s great innovation.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver also weighed in.

Of course, Winter’s biggest mark might have been left on his players. Some of his players with the Lakers and Bulls had plenty to say about their coach, particularly Scottie Pippen in a lengthy Twitter thread.

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