We never met Marty Blake, but we admired him a great deal. Obviously for his basketball knowledge, but also for his wit and his consistent, smart advice to young players: go back to school, you'll be better for it. Advice hundreds of players spurned, to their cost.
Blake was around at the beginning of the NBA and went from George Mikan to LeBron James: amazing.
He was a tremendous scout and the ultimate basketball lifer. We truly enjoyed his annual evaluations. They were usually brutally to the point, but never unfair.
He died this weekend at 86, leaving basketball a poorer world. We sure hope someone recorded his stories.