Lakers news: Kobe Bryant has heartfelt reaction to the passing of his 'mentor' Tex Winter
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Kobe Bryant has heartfelt reaction to the passing of his ‘mentor’ Tex Winter

Kobe Bryant, Tex Winter

Former NBA coach Tex Winter, a pioneer of the triangle offense that led the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers to multiple NBA championships, passed away on Wednesday in Manhattan, Kansas at the age of 96. One of his long-time pupils, Kobe Bryant, decided to send out a heartfelt dedication to Winter on Instagram.

“My mentor,” Bryant wrote in his post for Winter. “I sat with Tex and watched every minute of every game during our first season together (including preseason games) he taught me how to study every detail of the game. He was a basketball genius in every sense of the word. Basketball purest. I will miss him deeply. Thank you Tex. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you. Rest In Peace.”

Winter’s coaching career began in 1947 at Kansas State, where he served as an assistant under Jack Gardner. He then found his way to Marquette as the youngest head coach in major college basketball at 30 years of age.

Following his stint with the Golden Eagles, Winter returned to Kansas State as their head coach for 15 years. Over the course of that span, he led the Wildcats to two Final Four appearances in six NCAA tournament trips.

Winter’s first gig in the NBA came in 1971 as head coach of the Houston Rockets. And later, in 1985, he was hired by the Chicago Bulls as an assistant, where he joined forces with head coach Phil Jackson. With Michael Jordan as their star, the Bulls went on to win six titles (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 1998).

Winter was also part of Jackson’s triangle offense with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1999. With Kobe as the star this time, the Lakers went on to win three championships from 2000 to 2002.

Join us in sending condolences to the Winter family.