John Kundla, the first coach in Lakers history, died Sunday at the age of 101.
His son, Tom, confirmed his father’s death, saying the elder Kundla died at an assisted living facility in Northeast Minneapolis.
“On behalf of the entire Lakers organization, I’d like to express our sadness at the passing of John Kundla,” Lakers president and co-owner Jeanie Buss said in a statement. “John played an important role in the history of the Lakers organization.
“Not only was he a Hall of Fame coach, he was our first head coach and led the organization to five NBA championships. In addition to his numerous contributions to the Lakers and our legacy, John was a wonderful man and will be remembered fondly. Our deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to the Kundla family.”
Kundla, who celebrated his 101st birthday on July 3, led the Minneapolis Lakers to five NBA titles from 1949-1954 and his Lakers team was the first in NBA history to three-peat, winning consecutive championships from 1952-54.
Irving’s request presents a particular challenge to 2K Sports. While the manufacture of physical copies has yet to begin, the company has designed the cover art, completed marketing materials and even finished aspects such as the loading screens. A trade would need to occur very soon for changes to be enacted in time for the release, but there’s no indication a deal is imminent.
It’s rare that a cover star’s place in the league changes dramatically while the game is being promoted or shortly after the player appears on a cover. Video game publishers intentionally select players considered to be stable, reliable and obviously valued by their organizations. They’ll shy away from anyone who’s a risk in their personal life, is a free agent or has been involved in trade rumors. The Irving news came as a surprise to everyone.