McGuire dies at 84

NEW YORK -- Dick McGuire, part of a basketball Hall of Fame family and longtime member of the New York Knicks organization, died Wednesday of natural causes. He was 84.

The Knicks said McGuire died at Huntington Hospital in Long Island. McGuire, whose brother Al coached Marquette to an NCAA title and is also in the Hall of Fame, still worked for the Knicks as a senior basketball consultant.

Dick McGuire was a part of the Knicks' organization for 53 of its 64 seasons, doing everything from finding the open man to finding future All-Stars. He was Hall of Famer Walt Frazier and Phil Jackson's first NBA coach, and was responsible for the drafting of Mark Jackson, who would later pass him on the team's career assists list.

Knicks president Donnie Walsh said Dick McGuire's name was probably the first in the NBA he knew growing up, and would later come to rely on his knowledge as a respected talent evaluator.

"He's been a part of this, almost like the bricks, and so I don't know of anybody else in the league that I can say that about in the same way," Walsh said. "So it's a terrible loss for us."

McGuire had still been traveling to scout college games in recent years. Walsh named the team's legacy award after McGuire last year.

"Me coming in here in the last year and a half and seeing Dick more often then I would before, I'm going to miss that," Walsh said. "He always had a great opinion, I thought, because he knew what it took to win in this league, he knew what it took to play in this league."

A Bronx native, McGuire was a five-time All-Star and led the Knicks to three straight NBA finals from 1951-53. He went on to serve the team as a coach, assistant coach and scout. His No. 15 was retired in 1992 and he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame a year later.

McGuire still ranks third on the Knicks' career list with 2,950 assists.

"As one of its first superstars, Dick was instrumental to the early success of the NBA," commissioner David Stern said in a statement. "Whether as player, coach, scout or consultant, Dick loyally served the New York Knicks organization."

Nicknamed "Tricky Dick," McGuire was born Jan. 26, 1926, in New York. He played in college at St. John's and was picked by the Knicks in the first round of the 1949 draft. He played eight seasons for the team before he was traded to Detroit on April 3, 1957, for a first-round pick. McGuire spent his final three seasons with the Pistons.

"Dick was one of a kind," former St. John's coach Lou Carnesecca said. "He was a great ballplayer and coach and a better human being. All of basketball is going to miss him."

McGuire is survived by his wife, Teri, four children and seven grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.