February 3rd 2010: Dick McGuire passed away
Dick McGuire passed away on this date at the age of 84. A native of New York City, McGuire spent 11 years in the NBA, 8 seasons with the Knicks, and was one of the top point guards in the league during the 1950s, making the All-Star team seven times. He helped the Knicks reach the NBA Finals for three straight seasons from 1951-53. His 2,950 assists with the Knicks still ranks 3rd all time behind Clyde and Mark Jackson.
As he neared retirement, McGuire transitioned into a player-coach with the Detroit Pistons. He coached the Pistons until 1963 and eventually coached the Knicks for 3 seasons from 1965-1968. McGuire helped the Knicks reach the playoffs in 1967. His coaching career never matched his exceptional playing career and he eventually swapped roles with Red Holzman, who was the chief scout for the Knicks.
Unlike our recent stretch of head coaches in Knicks history, McGuire still remained an active part of the Knicks organization. From 1968 until his death, he served as the Chief Scout, Director of Scouting Services, and Senior Basketball Consultant for the Knicks. He was the type of person who enjoyed working behind the scenes, even if it meant not necessarily receiving credit for a particular trade.
One of his first impactful moments was convincing then-GM Eddie Donovan to trade for Dave DeBusschere from the Detroit Pistons. McGuire helped draft him during his tenure coaching the Pistons. He was also responsible in drafting players such as Trent Tucker, Mark Jackson, Rod Strickland, Hubert Davis, Charlie Ward, Nate Robinson, David Lee, Wilson Chandler, and Danilo Gallinari.
To honor his contributions to the game, the Knicks retired his number 15 in 1992. Although the team retired Earl Monroe’s #15 in 1986, it felt necessary to retire it again to remember McGuire’s legacy. He was later enshrined to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.