By Ellen Chlumecky
March 20, 2015
The year of 2015 has been quite a sad time frame for the sports world and its fans. We have lost a numerous amount of beloved athletes, coaches, and businessmen this year. We lost Al Rosen, Minnie Minoso, Anthony Mason, Earl Lloyd, Jerome Kersey, Steve Montador, Jerry Tarkanian, and on March 16th, we lost former Chicago Bulls center Jack Haley. Jack Haley passed away at the age of 51. His family confirmed his death as one of a heart disease. He died on Monday at Los Alamitos Medical Center in Orange County.
Jack Haley played nine seasons in the NBA which included a special spot on the Chicago Bulls’ 1996 championship team. He played with the likes of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, John Salley, and Toni Kukoc. While he wasn’t obviously one of the most well-known players but he was treasured member of that team. Especially to former teammates Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman who both sent out thoughtful tweets in memory of Haley. Pippen stated that he was a great guy who he had always stayed in touch with over the years. Rodman talked about how close he was to Haley’s family and kids and how he was truly like a brother to him.
While he played for the Bulls, he played for a myriad of other teams as well. He also played for the New Jersey Nets, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the San Antonio Spurs throughout his entire career. He averaged 3.5 points and 2.7 rebounds mostly as a reserve. He did sit out the whole 199-1993 season because of an injury. A graduate of UCLA, he helped the Bruins with the NIT championship in 1985. He was the 97th pick overall in 1987 after playing in Spain.
Even though his time was pretty short, the Chicago Bulls organization was saddened to hear of the passing of their former player. The Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson stated that, “Jack was always supportive and enthusiastic teammate and a valued member of the 1995-96 championship team that went 72-10. He always brought energy and enthusiasm to our organization and we send our condolences to Jack’s family.”
Haley’s death truly shows us the importance of his influence on the team. While he wasn’t the main scorer, the enforcer, or the stand out rookie; he was the kind of player who wanted the best for his teammates and the teams he played for, someone everyone needs on their team. Sometimes these people are thought of as an after thought but as we mourn his death today we celebrate his dedication and enthusiasm for basketball. We hope that players today can reach inside themselves and demonstrate his remarkable qualities as well.