Why Can’t Kurt Rambis Get An NBA Head Coaching Job?

Kurt Rambis And His Glasses Battling For A Rebound
Kurt Rambis And His Glasses Battling For A Rebound

All this talk about Phil Jackson potentially getting hired to coach the Lakers again, and then probably bringing on Kurt Rambis as an assistant coach, got my Kurt Rambis juices flowing like a freshman on prom night.

My Kurt Rambis juices had been stagnant as of late, but now, thanks to a few recently discovered hitherto unseen clips courtesy of the internet, they are again flowing freely.

Check out this barrage of around the basket scoring and dunking from all angles. The alleyoop at 3:45 is the best part.

The since-passed debacle that was the Lakers choosing Mike D’Antoni to coach the squadron instead of Phil Jackson only served to whet my appetite for Rambis, as it turned out.

Maybe I’m the only one, but I still think Rambis could be a very successful NBA coach. Sure, many people would point to the two year stint in Minnesota and say otherwise. But if you did, it’s only because you weren’t paying attention.

The roster that Rambis got handed was a steaming pile of dog doo year one, compounded by the fact David Kahn drafted three point guards that year when they had needs all over.

Somehow, they won two more games in Rambis’ second year, but he was fired anyway. It’s no coincidence though, that team won 26 games the next year; Rambis did the grunt work and was jettisoned – just like during his playing career.

His only other head coaching experience was with the Knicks.

When Phil Jackson was brought in, the Knicks hired Rambis to be the assistant head coach of the team under head coach Derek Fisher. Fisher had ZERO coaching experience. And was thought to have brought in by Jackson because of his familiarity with the Trangle Offense as a player. After Fisher’s failure (culminating with a fight against Matt Barnes over Fisher dating Barnes’ ex-wife), he was fired.

Rambis was named the interim head coach and went 9-19 under Rambis, and finished the season 32–50 overall. The Knicks decided to hire Jeff Hornacek as the team’s head coach, while Rambis was retained as associate head coach. On April 12, 2018, Rambis was fired along with Hornacek, who went 60–104 over two seasons with the Knicks.

Look at him going HAM on “Chocolate Thunder” Darryl Dawkins here:

Rambis is probably the dorkiest looking basketball player to ever play in the NBA (other than Brian Scalabrine). But, he was also highly successful and much more productive than you probably remember.

Rambis turned being a dorky white guy with limited athleticism into a 13 year career.

The other night, I was up late, Googling “Kurt Rambis” like usual and I looked at his stats. No, not the four championships he was a part of, but his actual stats.

For his career, Rambis averaged just 18.5 mpg. But in those 18.5 mpg, he averaged 5.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg and even 1.1 apg. I had completely forgotten his stint as a starter for the Charlotte Hornets in their first year of existence.

That year, he was the teams fifth leading scorer (11.1) and leading rebounder (9.7). And, he hit a couple of game winners; no biggie.

We all know the NBA loves to recycle coaches like no other pro sports league in the world; Rick Adelman, anyone? Who even knew Bernie Bickerstaff was still around until Mike Brown was terminated?

We can only hope that Kurt Rambis gets another shot.

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I’ve been a freelance journalist since 2000 and have had my work published via AskMen, Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, Busted Coverage, and Autotrader. I’ve done stand-up comedy. I'm a dad, youth soccer club President, and former team statistician for the oldest indoor football team in the world, the Omaha Beef. I’ve married six couples in 10 years and my Marriage to Still Married ratio is 6:6. I always say, it isn’t so much about the “love,” as it is the tasteless jokes that became vows. I started the I-80 Sports Blog to have all the work I've published located in one place and to write about things I want to write about. I don't take anything too seriously and it is a real time saver.