R.I.P. Al Bianchi

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The Bobster
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R.I.P. Al Bianchi

Post by The Bobster » Mon Oct 28, 2019 5:51 pm

Al Bianchi, who spent 23 years as a Suns assistant coach and scout passed away today at age 87. Prior to coming to the Suns, Bianchi played at Bowling Green in college and for the NBA's Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers from 1956-1966 as a guard. After a season as an assistant coach for John Kerr with the Chicago Bulls, he coached the Seattle SuperSonics from 1967-69, and for the ABA's Washington Capitols/Virginia Squires from 1969-75. He was then hired as John MacLeod's assistant coach in 1975 and remained here until 1987, when he took the General Manager position for the New York Knicks (where he remained from 1987-91). He later returned to the Suns as a scout and served as an assistant coach for one more season in 2001-02.

Al was a competitor and had a fiery temper to say the least. He was the "bad cop" to MacLeod's "good cop" and could frequently be seen yelling at officials and occasionally throwing his clipboard in disgust. Along with Jerry Colangelo, MacLeod, Al McCoy, Joe Proski, Paul Westphal, Alvan Adams, Dick Van Arsdale, Ron Lee, Gar Heard and Walter Davis, he was a big part of the whole experience for Suns fans in the late 70's when I became a fan.

And as Al so eloquently put it after the 1976 Finals when looking back at a Richie Powers no-call that cost them a chance to shoot a technical free throw that could have won Game 5 - "f*** You Richie Powers!"

R.I.P. Al!
Author of The Basketball Draft Fact Book: A History of Professional Basketball's College Drafts
Available from Scarecrow Press at - https://rowman.com/ISBN/9780810890695

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Superbone
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Re: R.I.P. Al Bianchi

Post by Superbone » Mon Oct 28, 2019 6:01 pm

Nice write up, Bobster. You and I have similar childhood memories.
Wormwood/Superbone 2019/2020 season bet: Suns win < 30 games, Wormwood wins, else 'Bone wins. 1 month avatar shame starting July 1st of winner's choosing.

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The Bobster
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Re: R.I.P. Al Bianchi

Post by The Bobster » Mon Oct 28, 2019 7:00 pm

We've lost some of the guys who made the Suns great - Bianchi, MacLeod, Connie Hawkins, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Neal Walk, Dennis Johnson, Maurice Lucas, Wayman Tisdale. Lots of great memories there.
Author of The Basketball Draft Fact Book: A History of Professional Basketball's College Drafts
Available from Scarecrow Press at - https://rowman.com/ISBN/9780810890695

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In2ition
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Re: R.I.P. Al Bianchi

Post by In2ition » Mon Oct 28, 2019 7:01 pm

Was he "Big Al"?
"30 wins would be an extremely disappointing season" yeah, I said it and I mean it.

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The Bobster
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Re: R.I.P. Al Bianchi

Post by The Bobster » Mon Oct 28, 2019 7:02 pm

In2ition wrote:
Mon Oct 28, 2019 7:01 pm
Was he "Big Al"?
"Blinky"

There must be a story there.....
Author of The Basketball Draft Fact Book: A History of Professional Basketball's College Drafts
Available from Scarecrow Press at - https://rowman.com/ISBN/9780810890695

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LazarusLong
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Re: R.I.P. Al Bianchi

Post by LazarusLong » Tue Oct 29, 2019 9:57 am

Bianchi’s street-smart chutzpah was the perfect complement to MacLeod’s dapper, Xs-and-Os controlled mien.

“Along with Jerry Colangelo, MacLeod, Al McCoy, Joe Proski, Paul Westphal, Alvan Adams, Dick Van Arsdale, Ron Lee, Gar Heard and Walter Davis, he was a big part of the whole experience for Suns fans in the late 70's …”

Well said.
Once upon a time, in what seems an epoch ago, the Phoenix Suns were a respectable NBA franchise ...

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