Former Lakers Head Coach John Kundla Passes Away At 101

Former Lakers Head Coach John Kundla Passes Away At 101

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The Los Angeles Lakers lost a legend on Sunday.

The storied franchise which cemented the team’s legacy in Minneapolis and Los Angeles had one of their most revered coaches pass away on July 23 with John Kundla pronounced dead at 101 years old, according to Joel Rippel of the Star Tribune:

John Kundla, a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and one of the top coaches in NBA history, died Sunday afternoon in Minneapolis.

Although many Lakers fans today might not know his name, Kundla was a legend in his time leading the team to five NBA titles with the league’s first real superstar in center George Mikan leading the way.

Kundla, who was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame back in 1995, could be mentioned in the same breath as Phil Jackson, Pat Riley, Gregg Popovich, and Red Auerbach.

In 1996, Kundla earned the honor of being named one of the 10 greatest coaches of all-time during the NBA’s 50th season. Kundla joined the likes of Jackson, Riley, Auerbach, Chuck Daly, Bill Fitch, Red Holzman, Don Nelson, Jack Ramsey, and Lenny Wilkens.

Before passing away on Sunday, Kundla was the oldest living Hall of Famer in any of the four major sports in this country, via Rippel:

Kundla, who was the oldest surviving Hall of Fame member of the four major sports, was 101.

The Pennsylvania native was the first coach of the Lakers franchise. He was at roaming the sidelines for the Lakers from 1947 to 1959 before he went to coach the Minnesota Gophers from 1959 to 1968.

Kundla is survived by his four sons, two daughters, and six grandchildren.