The history of Washington's NBA franchise includes one NBA championship. The man who coached the 1978 Bullets was honored Tuesday night.
Dick Motta, who also directed Washington to the 1979 finals, was selected as the 2015 "Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award", the National Basketball Coaches Association announced Tuesday night.
Motta's 25 years in the NBA included stops with the Bulls, Mavericks, Kings and Nuggets. When he retired following the 1996-97 season, he ranked second all-time in games coached (1,952), third in wins (935, which now ranks 12th all-time). Motta was named NBA Coach of the Year in 1971 during a stretch where he helmed Chicago to six straight playoff appearances.
"To receive this award from my fellow coaches and our Association is certainly an honor and very much appreciated,” the 83-year-old Motta said during a ceremony in Cleveland before Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
During his lengthy career, Motta's greatest success came during his four seasons with Washington. He joined the Bullets in 1976, racking up a 185-143 record.
“Dick Motta was a true NBA coaching pioneer who brought to the game a great basketball mind, with a competitive toughness," Dallas Mavericks head coach and National Basketball Association president Rick Carlisle said. "During his impactful career he has made a huge contribution to the game. Among his coaching peers and former players and students of the game he is a respected coach, teacher, mentor and an individual that personifies the best of NBA coaching."
Led on the court by Elvin Hayes, Bobby Dandridge and Wes Unseld, Washington's 54 wins during the 1978-79 campaign remains the franchise record.
“I had the privilege of coaching with Dick Motta and know first hand the contribution he has made to his fellow coaches, players and the community," said former NBA head coach Bernie Bickerstaff, who as one of Motta's assistants during the Bullets' championship season. "NBA Basketball was given a big boost by Dick Motta during the time he was involved in the game."