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NBA Black History: Al Attles And His 62 Years Makes Him A Life-Long Warrior

NBA Black History: Al Attles And His 62 Years Makes Him A Life-Long Warrior

It's Black History month and the NBA is rightfully celebrating. You hear of the usual names of the Black pioneers of the game like Chuck Cooper, Bill Russell, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

What if I told you the name, Al Attles? Do you know his name? If so, do you know anything about him?

If you answered no, don't worry, you've come to the right place.


Al Attles, NBA Player

Attles was the 39th overall pick in the 1960 NBA Draft. The team that selected him was the then Philadelphia Warriors.

Attles was never a star in the league, yet he was an important role player on the Warriors. He went by the nickname “The Destroyer” because of his intense defense.

On the day teammate Wilt Chamberlain had his historic 100 point game, Attles ended the game as the second leading scoring on the Warriors. He finished with 17 points.

Attles always jokes with people that he and Chamberlain combined to score 117 points on that legendary night, and he's not wrong.

After playing two years in Philadelphia, Attles' Warriors moved to San Francisco, and he followed along.

After 11 seasons, Attles retired from the NBA. In his 11-year career, Attles made two NBA Finals.

First, in 1964, alongside Chamberlain, their Warriors lost to the mighty Boston Celtics.

Then, in 1967, Attles, San Francisco Warriors, lost to Chamberlain's new team, the Philadelphia 76ers.

Attles may have retired from the game as a player, but he'd stay connected to the game, to the Warriors.


Coach Attles

In 1968 while still playing, Attles was promoted to an assistant coach role. Halfway during the 1969–1970 season, the Warriors fired their coach, George Lee, and Attles became the head coach.

Attles surprisingly had this to say in an interview with The Undefeated about becoming the Warriors player head coach:

“I may be wrong, but I don’t think you can be a player-coach. You can only be one or the other. I said that if I decide to do this, I won’t be a player, I’ll just be a coach.”

Even more surprising was Attles answer when he was asked if he liked being a head coach:

“No, I did not like it at all, at first. If not for [Warriors owner] Mr. [Frank] Mieuli, you’re not sitting over there where you are and I’m not here. He was a great man. He had to be a great man to convince me to be a coach, because I didn’t want to be a coach.”

After retiring as a player, Attles did stay on as the head coach, despite his feelings.

He coached superstar Rick Barry and after failing to win an NBA championship as a player, Attles won the title as a coach, with Barry as the star, in 1975.

This was an incredible achievement for Attles and the Warriors, especially since the Warriors were huge underdogs against the Washington Bullets.

Attles stayed on as the Warriors head coach until the 1979–80 NBA season, where he was replaced by Johnny Bach with only 21 games remaining in the season.

Attles would be brought back as head coach the following season, and he'd coach the Warriors until the 1982-83 season. He was once again replaced by Bach.

Attles would join the Warriors coaching staff one more time during the 1994-1995 NBA season as an assistant coach.


Attles As General Manager And Community Ambassador

After his coaching career, Attles became the Warriors General Manager. He stayed in this role for only three years, but once again, he wouldn't leave the Warriors, even after losing his position.

In the 1987-1988 NBA season, Attles became the Warriors Community Ambassador, and he's currently in this same role as of today.

This puts Attles on the Warriors' payroll, one way or another, for 62 years, the longest one person has remained with one franchise in the NBA.

Attles was honored by making the Hall of Fame in 2019, a well-deserved honor that should have happened earlier.

When you think of who is the face of the Warriors, you might think of Stephen Curry, Rick Barry, or Wilt Chamberlain. But you really should think of Mr. Warrior himself, Al Attles.

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