Kurt Rambis

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Kurt Rambis
Rambis as head coach of the Timberwolves in March 2011
Los Angeles Lakers
PositionSenior basketball advisor
Personal information
Born (1958-02-25) February 25, 1958 (age 65)
Terre Haute, Indiana, U.S.
Listed height6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)
Listed weight213 lb (97 kg)
Career information
High schoolCupertino (Cupertino, California)
CollegeSanta Clara (19761980)
NBA draft1980: 3rd round, 58th overall pick
Selected by the New York Knicks
Playing career1980–1995
PositionPower forward
Number31, 30, 18
Coaching career1994–present
Career history
As player:
1980–1981AEK Athens
19811988Los Angeles Lakers
19881989Charlotte Hornets
19891991Phoenix Suns
19911993Sacramento Kings
19931995Los Angeles Lakers
As coach:
19941999Los Angeles Lakers (assistant)
1999Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers (assistant)
20092011Minnesota Timberwolves
2013–2014Los Angeles Lakers (assistant)
20142016New York Knicks (associate HC)
2016New York Knicks (interim)
20162018New York Knicks (associate HC)
Career highlights and awards
As player:

As assistant coach:

As executive:

Career NBA statistics
Points4,603 (5.2 ppg)
Rebounds4,961 (5.6 rpg)
Assists931 (1.1 apg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at NBA.com
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at Basketball-Reference.com

Darrell Kurt Rambis (born February 25, 1958) is an American former professional basketball player and coach who is a senior basketball adviser for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). As a player, he won four NBA championships while playing power forward for the Lakers. Rambis was a key member of the Showtime era Lakers and was extremely popular[1] for his hard-nosed blue collar play.[2] With his trademark black horn-rimmed glasses, Rambis complemented the flashy Hollywood style of the Showtime era Lakers.[1]

Rambis played college basketball for the Santa Clara Broncos. As a senior in 1980, he was named the player of the year in the West Coast Conference (WCC).[3] Rambis was selected by the New York Knicks in the third round of the 1980 NBA draft, but began his career in Greece with AEK Athens before joining the Lakers.[3] He also played for the Charlotte Hornets, Phoenix Suns, and Sacramento Kings. Rambis became a coach and has served as head coach for the Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Knicks.[4][5][6] He also won two league championships as an assistant coach with the Lakers.

Early life[edit]

Rambis as a freshman at Santa Clara.

Rambis was born in Terre Haute, Indiana.[7] His family moved to Cupertino, California in his preschool years; his number is retired at Cupertino High School.

College career[edit]

He graduated from Santa Clara University, where he played from 1976 to 1980, becoming its second-leading rebounder and all-time leading scorer with 1,736 points. During his Santa Clara years, he was awarded the WCC Freshman of the Year and Conference Player of the Year as a senior. His No. 34 was retired on December 29, 2008.[8]

Professional career[edit]

Rambis was drafted by the New York Knicks as the 58th pick in the 1980 NBA draft, but he was subsequently waived by the Knicks. He played in Greece in the Greek League for the club AEK Athens, under the name Kyriakos Rambidis.[9] Being of Greek descent,[10] he also acquired Greek citizenship.[9] AEK won the Greek Cup in 1981.

He was re-signed by the Knicks in 1981 but never played a game for them.[11] His success as an NBA player started when he was signed as a free agent by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1981. Rambis spent most of his 14 seasons in the NBA with the Lakers, winning championships in 1982, 1985, 1987, and 1988 as part of their Showtime teams.

During his playing days, Rambis was a favorite among the Lakers fans because of his status as an overachieving underdog and ultimate team player. Known for his defensive and rebounding skills, he was remembered in Los Angeles for his all-out effort and willingness to do the "dirty work" that many players do not embrace. Rambis usually wore a thick moustache and thick-rimmed black glasses, prompting Lakers announcer Chick Hearn to nickname him "Superman" (in reference to the character's alter ego, Clark Kent).[12] At the Lakers home arena a "Superman" fan club (also known as Rambis youth) was formed where the courtside spectators wore glasses styled similar to the ones used by Rambis.[13] Lakers head coach Pat Riley once complained to a reporter "Other guys have sharp Adidas bags. [Rambis]'s got this black satchel, like the kind you would have a bowling ball in. And it's, like, vinyl. He doesn't ever bring a garment bag or a suitcase. That's all he ever brings, could be a week."[14]

Rambis also played for the Charlotte Hornets, Phoenix Suns, and Sacramento Kings before returning to the Lakers for the 1993–94 season. He retired as a player with the Lakers in 1995.

Coaching career[edit]

Los Angeles Lakers (1994–2009)[edit]

Rambis began working as a special assistant coach for the Lakers in 1994 but eventually returned to the active playing roster in February 1995. He was waived at the beginning of the 1995–96 season and resumed his role as an assistant.[15] He served as head coach of the Lakers during the 1999 "lockout season" after coach Del Harris was fired. He achieved moderate success, registering a 24–13 record in the regular season before being swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the 1999 Western Conference Semifinals. When Phil Jackson was hired as head coach, Rambis served as the Lakers' assistant general manager. He later became an assistant coach under Jackson between 2001 and 2004, helping the Lakers reach the 2002 and the 2004 NBA Finals, with Los Angeles winning a title in the former series. He was hired again as an assistant in 2005, along with former player Brian Shaw,[16] helping the Lakers to another pair of finals in 2008 and 2009. The Lakers won in the latter attempt.

Minnesota Timberwolves (2009–2011)[edit]

In 2007, Rambis interviewed for the Sacramento Kings' coaching job. He was a finalist again in 2009 to coach the Kings, and after serious discussions, he was offered the job, but he wanted more than a two-year contract and more money than was offered, so he turned down the job.

On August 8, 2009, Rambis was announced as the new head coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves, agreeing to a contract believed to be for 4 years and worth $8 million. Rambis succeeded Kevin McHale, infamous for taking him down in Game 4 of the 1984 NBA Finals.

On July 12, 2011, Rambis was fired as coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves after compiling a 32–132 record in two seasons with the team.[17]

Return to the Lakers (2013–2014)[edit]

On July 29, 2013, the Lakers announced they had re-hired Rambis as an assistant coach.[18]

New York Knicks (2014–2018)[edit]

On July 7, 2014, the Knicks announced they had hired Rambis to be the assistant head coach of the team under head coach Derek Fisher.[19] On February 8, 2016, Rambis was named the interim head coach after Fisher was fired.[20] After going 9-19 under Rambis, and finishing the season 32–50 overall, the Knicks decided to hire Jeff Hornacek as the team's new head coach, while Rambis was retained as associate head coach. On April 12, 2018, Rambis was fired along with Hornacek, who went 60–104 over two seasons with the Knicks.[21]

Executive career[edit]

Los Angeles Lakers (2018–present)[edit]

In September 2018, Rambis rejoined the Lakers as a senior basketball adviser.[22][23] Rambis has become "one of the most influential members of the organization since returning to the franchise in 2017."[24] Kurt Rambis's wife, Linda Rambis, serves as the Lakers Executive Director of Special Projects and is one of Jeanie Buss's longtime friends. Alongside Rob Pelinka, the couple has been described as "a pillar of the club’s four-pronged brain trust alongside [Jeanie] Buss."[25]

Outside basketball[edit]

Rambis also had a recurring role as Coach Cleary in the family drama 7th Heaven. He also guest-starred in season one of Sweet Valley High in episode thirteen "Club X" as a friend of Elizabeth and an episode of The Commish as a basketball player. He appeared in the "Going Places" episode (as himself) of It's Garry Shandling's Show. Rambis also made a cameo appearance in an episode of Malcolm & Eddie.

Head coaching record[edit]

Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win–loss %
Playoffs PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win–loss %
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result
L.A. Lakers 1998–99 37 24 13 .649 2nd in Pacific 8 3 5 .375 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
Minnesota 2009–10 82 15 67 .183 5th in Northwest Missed Playoffs
Minnesota 2010–11 82 17 65 .207 5th in Northwest Missed Playoffs
New York 2015–16 28 9 19 .321 3rd in Atlantic Missed Playoffs
Career 229 65 164 .284 8 3 5 .375


  1. ^ a b "Laker role player Kurt Rambis travels bizarre route to NBA". Christian Science Monitor. May 13, 1983. ISSN 0882-7729. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  2. ^ "Blue-collar worker takes over the Lakers | Lubbock Online | Lubbock Avalanche-Journal". lubbockonline.com. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Kurt Rambis". Santa Clara University. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  4. ^ "Rambis Gets New Job With Lakers". The Washington Post. September 28, 1999. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  5. ^ Stein, Marc (August 8, 2009). "Rambis will be Wolves head coach". ESPN.com.
  6. ^ "Wolves Relieve Kurt Rambis of Coaching Duties". National Basketball Association. July 12, 2011. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  7. ^ Resolution honoring Kurt Rambis
  8. ^ Rambis 7th Bronco to have jersey retired.
  9. ^ a b "GreekGateway.com The rise and fall of Kurt Rambis as head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves". Archived from the original on August 3, 2014. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
  10. ^ CSMonitor.com Laker role player Kurt Rambis travels bizarre route to NBA.
  11. ^ Beck, Howard (January 26, 2010). "Rambis, a Champion With the Lakers, Was Briefly a Knick". The New York Times. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  12. ^ "Laker role player Kurt Rambis travels bizarre route to NBA". Christian Science Monitor. May 13, 1983.
  13. ^ "Kurt Rambis Nearly Nixed His Own 'Superman' Fan Club but Quickly Changed Course: 'I Thought They Were Mocking Me'". December 2021.
  14. ^ "The Eyes Have It". Sports Illustrated Vault | Si.com.
  15. ^ NBA : West: Lakers Out of the Mourning Derby
  16. ^ "Lakers Add Rambis and Shaw to Coaching Staff". NBA.com.
  17. ^ Wolves Fire Kurt Rambis
  18. ^ "Rambis, Davis hired to assist Lakers' D'Antoni". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. July 29, 2013. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  19. ^ "Knicks Name Kurt Rambis Associate Head Coach". New York Knicks.
  20. ^ "Knicks Relieve Fisher Of Coaching Duties". New York Knicks. February 8, 2016. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  21. ^ "JEFF HORNACEK RELIEVED OF HEAD COACHING DUTIES". New York Knicks. April 12, 2018. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  22. ^ "Lakers Hire Kurt Rambis". Los Angeles Lakers. September 28, 2018. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  23. ^ Youngmisuk, Ohm (September 28, 2018). "Rambis returning to Lakers as senior adviser". ESPN.com. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  24. ^ Oram, Bill; Amick, Sam (January 18, 2022). "Sources: Lakers coach Frank Vogel's job in serious jeopardy despite Jazz win". The Athletic. Archived from the original on March 16, 2022.
  25. ^ Faigen, Harrison (February 21, 2022). "Rob Pelinka, Kurt and Linda Rambis probably aren't going anywhere, no matter how pissed LeBron is". SBNation. Vox Media.

External links[edit]