Former San Antonio Spurs GM Bob Bass dies at 89

From NBA media reports

Former San Antonio Spurs GM Bob Bass died Friday night at his San Antonio home. He was 89.

Bass was hospitalized Aug. 6 after suffering a stroke. On Monday, he returned home to enter hospice care after suffering a second stroke, his granddaughter Blair Bass-Percle said.

During Bass’ 20 seasons with the Spurs, the team advanced to the playoffs 17 times, which included three trips to the Western Conference finals.

Bass held several different titles with the club, including general manager, vice president of basketball operations, assistant to the chairman, head coach and assistant coach.

Bass left the Spurs in 1994 and was hired as the general manager of the Charlotte Hornets, who never had a losing season in his nine seasons. He was named the 1997 NBA Executive of the Year. He retired in 2004.

Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News provides more details:

Throughout his tenure with the Spurs, Bass’ work demeanor was equal parts intense executive and laid-back father figure. But his fierce loyalty and genuineness were constants even as his hair changed over the years from salt-and-pepper gray to white.

“Bob stayed in his lane,” former Spurs star James Silas said. “He didn’t try to be something he wasn’t. He knew where he came from. He was a country boy…and he knew how to coach. He was very special to me.”

That “country boy” made a decision early in his time with the Spurs that changed pro basketball forever.

After becoming head coach midway through the 1974-75 season, Bass moved a rail-thin, 23-year-old small forward named George Gervin to shooting guard.

After coaching in the ABA and in college at Oklahoma Baptist and Texas Tech, Bass joined the Spurs in 1974 and served as head coach until the ABA-NBA merger in 1976. He then joined the team’s front office, helping build the foundation for the team’s success while serving as general manager, vice president and assistant to the chairman.

Spurs’ Gregg Popovich’s statement on passing of Bob Bass:

“Over the course of four decades, Bob Bass had a huge impact in both the ABA and NBA. BB was a true pioneer in the world of professional basketball. His knowledge, passion and dedication to the game were inspiring. We send our condolences to the entire Bass family.”