Frank Hamblen, longtime LA Lakers coach, dies at age 70

DEL MAR, Calif. (KABC) -- Frank Hamblen, a former head coach and assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, has died.

Hamblen died in Del Mar at the age of 70 Saturday morning, the team announced. His cause of death was not immediately known.

Hamblen was a part of the team's coaching staff from 1999-2011. He served as an assistant coach under Phil Jackson from 1999-2004 and again from 2005-2011. During the 2004-05 season, he assumed the position of head coach in February of 2005 after Rudy Tomjanovich stepped down from the role

Hamblen helped lead the team to five NBA championships.

"He was not only beloved by everyone in the Lakers organization but by those in the NBA community as well," Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton said in part in a team statement. "Frank coached me as a rookie and in addition to all I learned from him on the court, he also emphasized how important it was to enjoy life off the court as well."

Former Laker Kobe Bryant tweeted about the news, saying he will miss Hamblen's patience and "deep understanding of the game."

During his 42-year career as a coach in the NBA and ABA, Hamblen helped coach the Milwaukee Bucks, Kansas City/Sacramento Kings, Denver Rockets and the San Diego/Houston Rockets.

Born in Terre Haute, Indiana, Hamblen attended Garfield High School, where he was recognized as one of the top 12 high school players in the state before attending Syracuse University. In 2007, he was inducted into the Indiana Sports Hall of Fame.
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