Jack Haley, a member of the record-breaking 1995-96 Chicago Bulls championship team, has died at 51 of heart disease.
His former head coach, Phil Jackson, posted Tuesday on Twitter about Haley’s death. He died Tuesday. He had been suffering from lupus cerebritis since at least 2011, according to Los Angeles Times reporter Ben Bolch. Haley died at Los Alamitos Hospital.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Haley Played in the NBA for 9 Seasons
Haley was drafted in 1987 by the Chicago Bulls and played in Chicago for one season. He later returned to the team in 1995 after spending time with the New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs
The 6’10” Haley was injured for most of the 95-96 championship season. But as a reserve forward/center for most of his career, Haley scored 1,180 points, according to BasketballReference.com. He retired in 1998 after playing for the Nets for a second time.
Haley also played in Spain, Greece and the Continental Basketball Association.
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said in a statement, “Jack was a hard worker and always very professional. He was proud to wear the Lakers uniform, and he was always a credit to our organization and the Lakers family. Our condolences go out to his family and friends at this time.”
After his playing career, Haley was an assistant coach for the Nets, a television broadcaster for the Lakers and an actor in the basketball movies Eddie and Rebound, and Aerosmith’s music video for Love In An Elevator.
2. He Played in College For UCLA
A Long Beach, California native and Huntington Beach High School graduate, Haley played for three seasons at UCLA.
Haley was recently back at his alma mater, in January, when the Bruins honored the 1985 NIT Championship squad, which he was a member of during his sophomore season.
Haley was a starter his junior and senior seasons, averaging 4.3 points per game and a team-high 6.3 rebounds per game. He helped lead the Bruins to a 25-7 record his senior year and a regular season championship. The team reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament, with Haley averaging 5.2 points and 47 rebounds per game.
He graduated in 1987 with a degree in political science and was drafted in the fourth round of that year’s NBA draft.
As a sophomore in 1984-85, Haley appeared in 25 games for the Bruins, who finished the year 21-12 overall and won the school’s only NIT title after beating Indiana, 65-62 in the championship contest. Just two months ago, on Jan. 11, Haley was in attendance as UCLA honored its 1985 NIT Championship squad.
3. He Was a Close Friend of Dennis Rodman
Haley met Rodman when they were members of the San Antonio Spurs. During the 1995-96 season with the Bulls, Haley was seen as somewhat of a “babysitter” for the often-troubled star, but he said it was a misconspetion that he was only with the team to look after Rodman.
The Chicago Tribune wrote about their relationship in 1996, and Haley said:
Dennis and I played together last year in San Antonio. We are very best friends. We are together on and off the court, 24 hours a day. I think a lot of the perception is that the reason I am here is to baby-sit Dennis, which has been disappointing for me. … I know it is not reality, and my teammates know what I do everyday. Last year (at San Antonio), Dennis was having a lot of problems with management, and Dennis is not a guy you can sit down and really talk to. So management came to me . . . and asked me to interpret. . . . All of a sudden, I got a reputation of almost being his PR guy or mediator. This year, I specifically go out of my way not to speak to the press when they ask, `Hey, can we talk to Dennis?’ or `Can you get an interview with Dennis?’ That’s not my job. Call Dennis Rodman, don’t ask me.
Haley said the two players saw a lot of similarities in each other. They were both physical players, enjoyed working out in the weight room, listened to alternative rock ‘n’ roll, loved going to Las Vegas in the off-season and played video games together.
4. Several Teammates and Friends Paid Tribute to Him on Twitter
5. Haley Had 2 Sons
Haley is survived two sons, Jack Jr. and Jeffrey. His son, Jack, was a walk-on with the UCLA Bruins in 2010-11. Haley met his ex-wife, Stacey Lindholm, while they were at UCLA, where she was a cheerleader.
Haley Sr.’s father was a 1959 U.S. Surfing Champion and played on the Pan-American volleyball team, according to UCLA’s Athletic Department.
His family said in a statement released by the Lakers:
It is with great sadness that the Haley family announces the passing of our beloved father, son, and brother. Our hearts are broken by this sudden, unexpected loss. Jack was honored and grateful for the opportunity to play in the NBA for nine years, alongside world-class athletes with the Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs, and New Jersey Nets. He cherished every moment and gave 100% whether on or off the court. And more than anything, Jack dearly loved his family. We are humbled and grateful for the outpouring of love, support, and prayers form around the country. An autopsy revealed cause of death as a result of heart disease.