Kevin McHale's Daughter's Tragic Death Is Reminder Basketball Is Just a Game

Alex KayCorrespondent INovember 26, 2012

October 24, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale against the New Orleans Hornets during the first half of a preseason game at the New Orleans Arena.   Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

In heartbreaking news, the Houston Rockets have made the grim announcement that their coach’s daughter had passed away on Saturday afternoon following a long battle with lupus, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

Alexandra “Sasha” McHale was just 23 years old.

Kevin McHale had been away from the team since November 10 in order to spend time with his family through the last weeks of this awful saga. Assistant coach Kelvin Sampson has taken the reigns from his comrade and will continue to do so until McHale is ready to return.

Team owner Leslie Alexander released a statement through the club (per Feigen), which read:

“I extend my deepest condolences to Kevin and Lynn for the loss of their beautiful daughter, Sasha, on Saturday afternoon,” Alexander stated. ” Kevin and Lynn are loving and dedicated parents who will need our continued support throughout this very difficult time.  Our entire organization is mourning the McHale family’s loss and we ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”

This is an absolute tragedy and should remind every player, coach and fan of the NBA to step back and evaluate what is truly important. Winning and losing shouldn’t matter as much in the wake of this devastating loss to the McHale family.

It’s a shame that a man like Kevin McHale—who has given so much to the game throughout both his 13-year, Hall of Fame-worthy playing career with the Boston Celtics and tenure as a coach of the Houston Rockets (2011-present) and Minnesota Timberwolves (2005, 2008-2009)—has to deal with the indescribable pain of burying a child.

We expect that Alexander and the rest of the Rockets brass will agree to give McHale as much time as he possibly needs to return to his post, and it would be perfectly acceptable if he elected to take an extended—possibly permanent—break from the game.  McHale has given no indication of his future plans and isn’t likely to while in bereavement.

It’s important that we use this painful loss to remind ourselves what is important this holiday season. A basketball game is so insignificant compared to the health and safety of loved ones, and keeping these things in perspective is imperative.

Please keep McHale and his family in your thoughts as they begin to cope with the loss of Sasha.