Brendan Malone, a former NBA head coach and longtime assistant coach, died Tuesday at 81, per NBA.com . Malone coached in the NBA over nearly 30 years, most recently as an assistant with the Detroit Pistons in 2016. The former Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers head coach is also the father of current Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone. Michael Malone coached the Nuggets to their first-ever NBA Championship in 2023 with a 4-1 series win against the Miami Heat.
“It is with tremendous sadness that we share the passing of longtime NBA coach Brendan Malone, who holds a special place amongst the organization and will be a Denver Nugget forever,” the Denver Nuggets posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Coach Brendan Malone was a great man who left behind a great legacy in the world of basketball, but he will be remembered even more for the amazing husband, father, son and grandfather that he was and the profound impact he had on the friends, family and colleagues who were lucky enough to know him.
“Our thoughts are with the entire Malone family and all of Brendan’s loved ones who are feeling this loss today,” the statement ended. The Nuggets posted that Michael Malone will not be present at Denver’s preseason game against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday with assistant coach David Adelman taking charge. The Raptors, where Malone served as the franchise’s first head coach, also posted condolences on X.
“The Toronto Raptors organization is saddened by the passing of Brendan Malone, who served as our head coach during the team’s inaugural season in 1995-96, winning a special place in our history and our hearts. His contributions to the game will forever be remembered, and we offer our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.”
Malone received the National Basketball Coaches Association’s 2023 Tex Winter Assistant Coach Lifetime Impact Award at a ceremony held in Las Vegas earlier this year.
“I want to thank the NBCA Selection Committee for acknowledging my father’s impact and career in the NBA,” Michael Malone said, per NBA.com , after his father won the award. “His work ethic, his love of the game, and his passion for teaching were the foundation of my coaching career. This is a well-deserved honor and I feel very fortunate to be a part of this celebration.”
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