DETROIT (AP) — Dr. Benjamin Paolucci, a longtime team physician for the Detroit Pistons who was with the franchise for each of its three NBA championships, has died. He was 84.
The Pistons said Paolucci died Wednesday in Florida.
Paolucci retired from the organization in 2015 after serving the Pistons’ medical needs for over 40 years. That span included titles in 1989, 1990 and 2004. He was also a football player at Wayne State and was briefly with the Detroit Lions after being drafted by them in 1958.
After serving six months in the U.S. Army in 1960, he started medical school at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine and studied later at the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine.
“Dr. Paolucci was not just a doctor to the team – he was like family,” former Pistons standout Richard Hamilton said. “He had such an infectious smile and was a generous and kind person who cared about your actual well being beyond the basketball court. I really enjoyed and looked forward to our conversations about basketball and he was very knowledgeable about the game. My thoughts go out to his family and he will truly be missed.”