Sacramento Kings

Longtime Kings, NBA executive ‘Scotty’ Stirling dies at 86

Scotty Stirling, right, and Jerry Reynolds in 2013.
Scotty Stirling, right, and Jerry Reynolds in 2013.

Kings television analyst Jerry Reynolds remembers meeting Gordon “Scotty” Stirling for the first time while scouting college players in Hawaii during the 1985-86 season. Reynolds was in his first season as a Kings assistant coach. Stirling was the general manager of the New York Knicks.

“I remember sitting next to Scotty just trying to get advice, and he was so helpful,” said Reynolds, whose later positions with the Kings would include head coach and GM. “He was obviously a very important man, and I was not. But he treated me great.”

Stirling would join the Kings in 1987, spending 27 years with the organization including 24 as scouting director. On Wednesday, the NBA announced that Stirling, whose career also included high-ranking jobs in professional football and sports media, died in Sacramento at the age of 86.

The Kings held a moment of silence for Stirling before Wednesday night’s game against the Detroit Pistons.

A Bay Area native who attended El Cerrito High School and USF, Stirling hosted a sports radio talk show in the Bay Area and covered the Raiders for the Oakland Tribune before becoming the Raiders’ GM for a stint that included their AFL championship in 1967.

Stirling then transitioned to professional basketball. He was GM of the 1968-69 ABA champion Oakland Oaks and served as the NBA’s vice president of basketball operations, assistant to the president of the Golden State Warriors and GM of the Knicks all before joining the Kings.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in a news release called Stirling “a highly regarded league executive” who “exuded passion for basketball” and “set a high standard as the NBA’s vice president of operations. With his vast knowledge and keen eye for talent, he earned the respect of his peers and colleagues.”

During Stirling’s tenure as Sacramento’s scouting director, the Kings drafted three-time All-Star Peja Stojakovic, the first Turkish-born NBA player in Hedo Turkoglu, and 2009-10 Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans. Stirling worked for the Kings from 1987-2013.

“He was a big part of our basketball operations with all those great teams of the early 2000s,” Reynolds said. “He’d be the first to tell you he was involved in the bad times, too. But he’s really going to be missed. I don’t think there’s anybody who knew him that didn’t like and respect him.”

Despite the years Stirling spent as an executive, Reynolds said he believes scouting was “probably the thing (Stirling) liked the most.” Reynolds said he never forgot one piece of advice that Stirling gave him during their first meeting in Hawaii.

“I remember him telling me, ‘One thing about being in this league is you’re going to have a lot of bad days, but don’t let it weigh on you,’ ” Reynolds said. “ ‘Even when you think it is a bad day, make yourself have fun.’

“It’s easy to say, hard to do. But I always tried to do that.”

Injury report – Guards Darren Collison (left hamstring strain) and Seth Curry (right ankle sprain) both missed their third consecutive game Wednesday.