After Basketball Hall of Famer and legendary assistant coach Fred "Tex" Winter died Wednesday at the age of 96, former Chicago Bulls star Scottie Pippen took to Twitter to pay tribute to the man who helped Pippen and the Bulls win six titles in the 1990s.
Tex Winter was my biggest critic. He was also my biggest fan. A few words about the legendary coach who lived his 96 years as well as anyone could have... pic.twitter.com/vOrS7UNkMS— Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen) October 11, 2018
Tex was a man of fundamentals. Ball movement + player movement = success. It was never about the individual.— Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen) October 11, 2018
Without Tex, we may never have won a title. He taught us how to slice and dice our opponents on the offensive end. We had the GOAT, but it was Tex's knowledge and triangle offense that helped us shred defenses. pic.twitter.com/cme9BHB6NP— Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen) October 11, 2018
Tex was a perfectionist. He insisted that we execute with energy, passion and precision. No matter our opponent, he demanded the most out of all of us.— Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen) October 11, 2018
Tex was tough on me early in my career. But he believed in me and gave me the confidence I needed to make the triangle work. He'd say, "I'm not criticizing, I'm coaching." pic.twitter.com/KeeMkZW2jw— Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen) October 11, 2018
Tex leaves a helluva legacy behind. Student of the game. Hall of Famer. 9 NBA championships as a coach. He taught me how to become a better offensive player. How to be patient on the floor. How to take criticism. How to win. Thank you, Tex. Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/aFKRr23ewZ— Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen) October 11, 2018
Shaquille O'Neal, who won three titles with Winter when the coach served on the staff of the Los Angeles Lakers, echoed Pippen's sentiments, telling reporters at the Lakers game against the Warriors that his teams wouldn't have won championships without Winter.
"Tex was one of two old people that took me to that next level," O'Neal said. "Him and a guy by the name of Bill Bertka had a tremendous knowledge of the game. I'm kind of at a loss for words. He meant a lot to my career. I definitely wouldn't have three [championships in L.A.] without him and Bill Bertka."
O'Neal's Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant also reacted to the news of Winter's death. Bryant had cited Winter as a key influence on his ESPN+ basketball breakdown series "Detail", and reiterated that Wednesday night.
My mentor. I sat with Tex & watched every minute of every game during our 1st season together. He taught me how to study every detail. He was a bball genius in every sense of the word. I'll miss him deeply. Thank you Tex. I wouldn't be where I am today without you. Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/qgjPgP7K95— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) October 11, 2018
Ohm Youngmisuk contributed to this report.