Former NBA player, coach and exec Al Bianchi dies at 87

NEW YORK (AP) — Al Bianchi, who played for the Philadelphia 76ers and was later an NBA coach and executive, has died. He was 87.

The New York Knicks said Bianchi died in Arizona of natural causes. He was the team’s general manager from 1987-91, signing future All-Star John Starks.

Bianchi was an original member of the 76ers, starting his 10-year career with the Syracuse Nationals in 1956-57 and remaining with the team following its move to Philadelphia.

He spent two seasons as coach of the Seattle SuperSonics before moving over to the ABA, where he was the Coach of the Year in 1970-71 with the Virginia Squires. Bianchi also had two stints as an assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns and one season with Chicago.

The 76ers released the following statement on his passing:

The Philadelphia 76ers organization mourns the passing of Al Bianchi, who spent his entire 10-year playing career with the franchise. An original Philadelphia 76er, Bianchi’s career began with the Syracuse Nationals in 1956-57 and continued through the team’s move to Philadelphia, concluding with the 1965-66 season.

Bianchi continued his basketball legacy after his playing days were over, spending time in coaching and executive roles both in the ABA and NBA. He was the ABA Coach of the Year with the 1970-71 Virginia Squires.

The 76ers organization sends its sincerest condolences to the Bianchi family during this difficult time.