He fought his personal health battles all while taking care of my mom. For 10 years, he cared for her as she got lost in the Alzheimer's maze. He was really sweet with her. She didn't know who he was most of the time, but he held her hand when she was scared and fed her and tried to ease her through the confusion for days and months and years. It was hard, but he did it. And he did it for a long, long time. That, too, is what he did in private.
Last summer when my dad was already very sick, a FedEx box arrived at his home with a DVD inside. On the video were dozens of kids doing basketball drills. Many of them were barefoot. The court was broken clay. The baskets were rusty and falling down. But these kids were working very hard, doing drills and more drills for 20 minutes. Kids and coaches working and sweating in the sun on a hot, hot day in Zimbabwe.
The camera panned away from the action to a sign on a fence that said, "The Jack Ramsay Grassroots Basketball Development Clinic." As his life was ending, a hopeful project with his name on it was just beginning. Part of his legacy is there, on a basketball court in a clearing on the other side of the world.
He did a lot of great things. Some were broadcast into millions of homes. Some no one knew about. He had integrity and ambition and a big imagination. His imagination might have been his greatest gift. It allowed him to envision the great life he led and to create the world in which he lived ... in which we lived.
If he were here today, he would say, "Use your imagination. Imagine the life you want to live, and live it."
Chris Ramsay is Jack Ramsay's son and an ESPN.com senior director.