Hall of Famer Al Attles always had his priorities straight

Al Attles in June 2015. Credit: Corey Carter / CC BY 2.0

Al Attles returned to the spotlight during last weekend’s Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Usually, he’s comfortable out of the spotlight.

But this was an occasion to recognize — and celebrate — his decades of service, his dedication, his commitment to the Golden State Warriors and the Bay Area community at large.

As a player, player-coach, coach, front-office executive and team ambassador, Attles, now 82, has been involved with the franchise since being selected by the then-Philadelphia Warriors in the fifth round (39th overall pick) of the 1960 NBA Draft.

Many articles will highlight Attles’ on-court toughness and his coaching acumen, but this is an opportunity to also underscore his personal touch.

In a revealing portrait that appeared in the San Jose Mercury News, Alvin Attles III wrote about what he’s learned from his father over the years.

“Many people see only his accomplishments as a player, coach, and executive,” he wrote. “All my life, my family and I have seen a Hall of Fame man. His wise counsel, his unwavering loyalty, his great sense of humor, his deep compassion for others.”

In January 1982, Attles became the sixth head coach in NBA history with 500 or more career coaching victories. The others: Dick Motta, Gene Shue, Jack Ramsay, Red Auerbach and Red Holzman.

That same month Roy S. Johnson penned a profile of Attles for The New York Times.

“His strength as a coach can be traced to his ability to communicate with, handle and judge the variety of persons with whom he deals,” Johnson wrote.

Warriors guard Al Attles circa 1970. PUBLIC DOMAIN

What matters most

Memorabilia are special reminders of one’s career, but Al Attles always cherished his family more than anything else.

Just ask his son, who provided the following details in his Mercury News story:

In 1991, Oakland suffered a devastating Hills fire. I vividly remember racing to my parent’s home under ashen clouds, sirens filling the air. I ran into the house and asked my mom what I should rescue from the house.

My mom suggested I gather all of my father’s trophies and mementoes, so I grabbed as many as I could and began rushing back and forth to the car.

“Alvin,” my father yelled, stopping me in my tracks.

“Yeah, dad.”

“Leave all that. Those trophies and basketballs don’t mean anything. Get the family photo albums.”

I ran and collected all the family photo albums and put them in my car. Our house didn’t burn; we were among the fortunate. But my dad’s priorities even in a potentially life-changing situation, left a deep impression on me.