Former Washington Bullet Mitch Kupchak: 8 NBA championship rings

Former Washington Bullet and current L.A. Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, circa 1981. Photo by Mike Frandsen

Congratulations to former Washington Bullet Mitch Kupchak, L.A. Lakers general manager, for putting together back-to-back NBA champions.

Is anybody ever going to pronounce Kupchak’s name correctly? It’s Kup-CHAK, not Kup-CHEK.  First, it was Jim Rome, who has done his show from L.A. for many years, who mispronounced his name over and over.  Then it was Ernie Johnson of TNT.  Then after Game 7 of the NBA finals it was NBA Commissioner David Stern saying “Kup-check.”  There have probably been many others.

How bout some respect for Kupchak, who has 8 NBA championship rings?  Kupchak won three championships as a player (one with the Washington Bullets in 1978 when he averaged 16 points and 7 rebounds as a reserve, one with the Lakers in ’82, and one with the Lakers in ’85), and five as a general manager.  Ok, Jerry West built the Kobe-Shaq threepeat Lakers, but Kupchak built the team that has made the finals now three years in a row, winning each of the last two seasons.

Kupchak averaged double figures in points for five of his first six seasons in the NBA, and overall, averaged 19 points a game for his nine NBA seasons when his minutes are projected over 36 minutes.

Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe, one of the most respected sportswriters in the country, wrote two years ago, “Neither the 1978 Bullets nor the 1985 Lakers could have won championships” without Kupchak.

By the way, Kupchak also won a gold medal in the 1976 Olympics and was an All-American at North Carolina.

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