Longtime NBA Coach Brendan Malone Dies at 81

Longtime NBA Coach Brendan Malone Dies at 81

Denver Nuggets revealed Tuesday that Brendan Malone, an NBA coach for many years, had died at 81.


The head coach of the Nuggets right now, Michael Malone, is the son of Malone.


As an assistant coach at Fordham, Yale, and Syracuse before joining the NBA, Brendan Malone worked up to become head coach at Rhode Island in 1984. Malone was an assistant coach for the New York Knicks for two years after two seasons with the Rams. He worked under Hubie Brown, Bob Hill, and Rick Pitino.


In 1989 and 1990, Malone helped the Detroit Pistons win back-to-back NBA titles. He left New York after two seasons to work for Chuck Daly in Detroit. Malone helped develop the “Jordan Rules” to stop Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan while he was in Detroit.


Before winning the NBA title, the Pistons beat the Bulls in three straight playoff games. Detroit won the first two games and went on to win the championship, while Jordan and Chicago won all three games in 1991 and won their first of three straight titles.


As the Toronto Raptors grew, Malone was hired as their first coach in 1995. The Knicks, the Pistons, the Indiana Pacers, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Orlando Magic all hired him as an assistant coach after that. He was Cleveland’s acting head coach for 18 games 2005 after Paul Silas was fired. That was the last time he was coaching a team.


Team Malone coached in the NBA for 27 years and had a record of 1,165–1,001, making the playoffs 20 times. They won two NBA titles and made it to seven conference games and four NBA games.


Michael Malone and his father, Phil Malone, another father-son teaching pair that has won an NBA title. After beating the Miami Heat in five games in June, Michael led the Nuggets to the 2023 NBA title.


In July, the National Basketball Coaches Association gave Malone the 2023 Tex Winter Assistant Coach Lifetime Impact Award.


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