The NBA community mourns the loss of an iconic figure in basketball, Brendan Malone, who passed away at the age of 81. A pillar of the league, Brendan's legacy stretches over 27 seasons, having shaped the trajectories of several NBA teams, including pivotal moments with the Detroit Pistons during their ‘Bad Boy’ era.
Joining the NBA coaching community in the late '80s, Brendan’s influential tenure was spread across various franchises, including the Pistons, New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Orlando Magic. His most recent assignment was as an assistant coach for the Pistons during the 2015-16 season.
Brendan's legacy is not just limited to the teams he coached; he's the father of Denver Nuggets’ current head coach, Michael Malone. As a mark of respect and deep personal loss, Michael will be absent from tonight’s game against the Phoenix Suns, as confirmed by the Nuggets.
Denver Nuggets Honor Malone's Legacy
The Denver Nuggets organization honored the late coach saying, “The passing of Coach Brendan Malone brings profound sadness to our basketball family. His stamp on the game is indelible, but beyond that, his role as a devoted family man and mentor stands out. He truly embodies the spirit of the Denver Nuggets and will be in our hearts forever."
Earlier this year, Brendan’s outstanding contributions were recognized with the National Basketball Coaches Association’s Lifetime Impact Award. On receiving the award, Malone fondly remembered his journey, especially acknowledging his deep respect for Tex Winter and expressing gratitude towards all the head coaches he worked alongside during his illustrious NBA journey.
Malone's coaching odyssey began in the corridors of Power Memorial Academy in New York City in 1967. He further honed his skills at Fordham, Yale, and Syracuse during the 1970s, eventually stepping up as the head coach for Rhode Island in 1984. His NBA chapter began when he teamed up with Hubie Brown at the Knicks in 1986.
In his rich NBA journey, Malone's teams achieved a 1,165-1,001 record, with twenty playoff appearances, reaching the Conference Finals seven times, and clinching the NBA Championship twice.
His son, Michael, expressed heartfelt gratitude in July, lauding Brendan’s enduring passion for the game and crediting him for instilling the foundational values of his own coaching career.
As tributes continue to pour in, Brendan Malone's influence on the game and his unforgettable moments with teams and players over the decades cement his place in NBA history.