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Retired basketball player and coach, Kurt Rambis, was born February 25, 1958 in Cupertino, California.
"If you told Kurt to run through a brick wall to win a basketball game, he
would do it.” –Kobe Bryant
“A lot of guys have idols. Mine is Kurt Rambis. I want to be like Kurt. He
is the ultimate role player.” -Jack Haley
Kurt Rambis graduated from Santa Clara University and then played in the Greek League with AEK Athens BC (as a Greek citizen named Kyriakos Rambidis and won the Greek Cup in 1981. His number is retired at Cupertino High School.
Rambis was drafted and waived by the New York Knicks in 1980 before playing in Greece. He was re-signed by the Knicks in 1981 but never played a game for them. His success as an NBA player started when he was signed as a free agent by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1981. Rambis spent most of his 14 seasons in the NBA with the Lakers, winning championships in 1982, 1985, 1987, and 1988. Rambis also played for the Charlotte Hornets, Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings. Rambis is remembered in both Santa Clara and Los Angeles for his all out effort and willingness to do the "dirty work" that many players do not embrace.
During his playing days, Kurt Rambis was a favorite among the Lakers fans because of his status as an over-achieving underdog and ultimate team-player. Known for his defensive skills, Rambis also was an efficient clean-up man on offense with his field goal percentage reaching 59.5% at the peak of his career. Rambis usually wore a thick moustache and thick-rimmed black glasses, prompting Lakers announcer Chick Hearn to nickname him "Superman" (in reference to the character's alter ego, Clark Kent).
After retiring from his playing career, he briefly coached the Lakers franchise during the 1999 "lockout season" following the firing of coach Del Harris. He achieved moderate success, registering a 24-13 record in regular season before being swept by the San Antonio Spurs in 1999 Western Conference Semifinals. He stayed on as an assistant coach when Phil Jackson took over. In 2007, Rambis interviewed for the Sacramento Kings coaching job. Rambis also had a recurring role as Coach Cleary in the family drama 7th Heaven.
Kurt Rambis is also mentioned in the song "Blao!" by rapper Hot Karl. The line states "I'm wearing the goggles that Kurt Rambis used to sport." The song was featured on NBA Live 2003.