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Rick Adelman named winner of Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award

Rick Adelman named winner of Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award

Rick Adelman, a Hall-of-Fame coach and one of only 10 coaches in NBA history to have won more than 1,000 games, is the recipient of the 2023 Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Basketball Coaches Association announced today.

“Rick Adelman’s NBA coaching career has been highlighted by innovation, integrity, and excellence,” said Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle, who is also the NBCA president. “His teams always played to their strengths, and Rick always found subtle ways to reinvent NBA basketball to help his players thrive. His quiet, unassuming nature belies his impact as one of the great NBA coaches of all time.”

“I am honored to receive the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award,” Adelman said. “To be included with the past winners is special. Chuck was a great coach and respected by all those who coached against his teams. To receive an award like this I have to thank all those who helped me along the way, in particular my assistant coaches and front offices. I would also like to thank the players I had through the years. Their effort and cooperation made everything I did possible. Good players make coaching much easier.

“This event makes me think of Michael Goldberg, who was a big help to all coaches and especially to me. He was a good friend who I miss. Thanks to the National Basketball Coaches Association, Coach Rick Carlisle and David Fogel. I also want to thank the Selection Committee for presenting me with this honor. I am grateful to all of those who made this possible, especially my wife Mary Kay and my family. Thank you.”

Adelman coached in the NBA for 29 years, including 23 as a head coach for five different teams (the Portland Trail Blazers, Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves), amassing a 1,042-749 (.582) career record. He led his teams – known for their free-flowing, read-and-react motion offenses – to the playoffs 16 times, to the Conference Finals four times and to the NBA Finals twice.

He played collegiately at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles and, as a senior in 1967-68, was voted West Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Year. Drafted by the San Diego Rockets in 1968, Adelman played seven seasons in the NBA.

Adelman began his coaching career at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon, in 1977 where he led his teams to a 141-39 record and three conference championships in six years. It was while at Chemeketa in 1983 that he was hired by the legendary coach Jack Ramsay as an assistant coach for the Blazers, a position he held until he was named head coach midway through the 1988-89 season.

In his first full season as an NBA head coach in 1989-90, Adelman led the Blazers to a 59-23 record, the Western Conference championship and a trip to the NBA Finals. Two years later, the Blazers were once again Western Conference champions and back in the NBA Finals. Under Adelman, Portland had four straight seasons of 50-plus wins, a record of 291-154 (.684) and were in the playoffs all six seasons. 

Adelman coached the Warriors for the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons before assuming the reins in Sacramento in 1998. In eight seasons as head coach of the Kings, Adelman had a 395-229 (.683) record, winning 50 games or more in five consecutive seasons and taking the team to the playoffs each year.

In 2007, Adelman was named the Rockets' head coach, leading Houston to back-to-back 50-plus win seasons in his first two years and a winning record in all four seasons. Adelman closed out his coaching career with the Minnesota Timberwolves, where his teams improved from 17 to 26 to 31 to 40 wins in his three seasons at the helm.

In 2014, upon his retirement, Adelman ranked ninth all-time in both games coached (1,791) and games won (1,042). Today, he ranks 10th in games won and 13th on the all-time playoff wins list with 79. His teams had a total of 11 50-win seasons and two 60-plus win seasons. Adelman finished runner-up in Coach of the Year voting four times with three different teams (1990-91 with Portland, 2000-01 and 2001-02 with Sacramento and 2008-09 with Houston) and was a three-time All-Star Game coach.

Adelman was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach in 2021. He was inducted into the Loyola Marymount Hall of Fame in 1986 and was named Oregon Sports Person of the Year in both 1990 and 1992. In 2015, the West Coast Conference (formerly the WCAC) inducted him into its Hall of Honor.

“Rick Adelman is widely respected for his teaching, his tough-to-defend motion offenses, and his ability to get players to buy into his philosophy,” said David Fogel, the National Basketball Coaches Association's executive director and general counsel. “His commitment to the game and his players is reflected in his career accomplishments and makes him a most worthy recipient of this award. Congratulations to Coach Adelman on this prestigious recognition.”

The National Basketball Coaches Association’s Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award honors the memory of Hall-of-Fame coach Chuck Daly, who set a standard for integrity, competitive excellence and tireless promotion of NBA basketball. The award is determined annually by a Selection Committee comprised of some of the most respected coaches and basketball executives in the game, including Bernie Bickerstaff, Billy Cunningham, Joe Dumars, Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich, Pat Riley, Donnie Walsh and Lenny Wilkens.

The prior recipients are Mike Fratello (2022), Larry Brown (2021), Del Harris (2020), Frank Layden (2019), Doug Moe (2018), Al Attles and Hubie Brown (2017), K.C. Jones and Jerry Sloan (2016), Dick Motta (2015), Bernie Bickerstaff (2014), Bill Fitch (2013), Pat Riley (2012), Lenny Wilkens (2011), Jack Ramsay and Tex Winter (2010), and Tommy Heinsohn (2009).

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