We are deeply saddened by the passing of NYC Basketball legend and former Knick Cal Ramsey, who represented the organization as a player, broadcaster and community ambassador. He had an unwavering love for the game, the city and its people and will be greatly missed. pic.twitter.com/dl7NhBdR7Y
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) March 25, 2019
NYC Basketball legend and former Knick Cal Ramsey passed away today at the age of 81. Beyond being a former Knick, Ramsey was a New York City basketball legend who left his legacy from all areas of the city’s basketball spectrum, from the courts in Rucker Park to NYU and Madison Square Garden.
Before spending a couple years playing professionally with the St. Louis Hawks, Syracuse Nationals & the New York Knicks, Ramsey made his mark on the NYC basketball courts. Beginning in his teenage years, Ramsey dominated the courts in Rucker Park alongside basketball legend Thomas “Satch” Sanders. Ramsey was a rebounding machine and the duo formed one of the most fierce front-court duos. Ramsey also had his fair share of battles against Connie Hawkins & longtime friend and NBA legend Wilt Chamberlain.
At NYU, Ramsey received a bachelors degree in business administration from the School of Commerce (now known as Stern School of Business). Cal was an All-American senior at NYU and still holds school records in all the rebounding categories.
After his playing career, Cal continued to make an imprint on and off the court. Ramsey was one of the first few African Americans to play in the NBA. He, like many of his contemporaries, suffered through discrimination as an African American basketball player. Teams would set a quota for the number of African Americans that were on the roster. Ramsey likely only played 3 seasons in the NBA due to discrimination.
In 1963, Ramsey accompanied Wilt Chamberlain down to DC for the March on Washington. He witnessed Martin Luther King’s historic “I have a Dream” speech in person.
In 1972, Ramsey joined the Knicks as a television color analyst. He became the first African American TV analyst for the Knicks organization. He remained in that role for 10 years before he returned to NYU in 1983 as an assistant coach on the basketball team. He remained an assistant coach until his death.
In addition to all the achievements above, Ramsey spent more than half his living life as a member of the Knicks community. He’s served as a “goodwill ambassador” for the organization for the last 35+ years. He spent a lot of time working within the Garden of Dreams foundation and interacted with various community groups over the years. He’s made appearance at various Knick-related events over the years including basketball camps, fan appreciation nights, press conferences, and the opening of basketball courts across the New York City playgrounds. He was seen everywhere and his legacy will forever be remembered.
Knicks Film School Historian, amongst other things