NBA fans outside of Chicago may or may not have taken notice in February of the death of Chicago Bulls legend Johnny “Red” Kerr. Kerr was a longtime broadcaster for the Bulls and the team’s first coach. Casual fans of the game might recognize him best as the guy in whose face Michael Jordan clapped chalk at the start of every game, but Kerr spent the majority of his life - entire life, not just professional life - working in one capacity or another for the storied NBA franchise, including 33 years as color commentator on the team’s telecasts.
But before Kerr was a coach and commentator, he was an NBA veteran center. In fact, at one point he held the record for most consecutive games played in the NBA; the man was pro basketball’s Cal Ripken, Jr. Baseball fans in the 1990s remember Ripken’s dogged pursuit of Lou Gehrig’s consecutive-games record and the utter joy amongst most baseball fans and in the media when he broke one of the game’s most sacred and seemingly-impossible records. Now, imagine that Ripken had been forcibly denied that record - not by injuries, but by a spiteful coach. Because that’s what happened to Johnny “Red” Kerr.