Jim Lynam is often referred to as a coach or ex-player, but above all else, he is a proud father.
Although many people now know him as a sports analyst in his later career, Lynam has spent 42 years coaching at the high school, college and professional levels after playing basketball himself at West Catholic High School and St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Within those 42 years, Lynam coached at three different collegiate schools and five professional teams in the NBA including the Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles (formerly the San Diego) Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, Washington Bullets and the New Jersey Nets before retiring from coaching in 2010.
At 81 years old Lynam is still going, but now behind the desk and in front of the camera as an analyst on NBC Sports Philadelphia.
When Lynam took his first job coaching a high school basketball team he had no idea that opportunity would open up the door for his life’s work — he just needed to pay the bills. All the while, he married his wife Kay in the 1960s and they had children who have also delved into sports broadcasting.
Throughout his numerous coaching jobs and career evolution, Lynam also balanced being a family man. To him, success means being successful in both your career and in your family. If your career is flourishing, but your children and marriage are suffering because of it, that’s not success in Lynam’s eyes.
“I always wanted to involve my family… and fortunate for me, they bought in,” Lynam said. “The family was always involved.”
Lynam relished that although his wife Kay never played basketball, she really grew to love it and learned the game because of his investment. Even though she doesn’t know the logistics of specific plays or formations, she gets the big picture and uses her perspective to identify teams’ weaknesses and strengths. Lynam said his wife even watches more basketball than him by a lot, and that it’s “not even close.”
Lynam also acknowledged that his children’s career paths have most likely been influenced by his work and career path. Dei Lynam, who is a locker room reporter, on-set analyst for the Philadelphia 76ers for over 25 years and an adjunct professor at Rowan University, is just like her dad when it comes to her career. She does a little bit of everything with having done sideline reporting and anchoring as well.
Dei Lynam used to tag along with her dad while he worked in the Poconos, and her mother was just as involved.
“Just for the record, my mother coached my fifth-grade team,” Dei Lynam said.
Jim Lynam expressed how much easier navigating an ever-changing career was because of the commitment and dedication of his wife Kay. She bought into not only the game and his career, but understood that involving their kids was the best way in maintaining healthy family relationships.
“It’s all about relationships. That’s the foundation of success in anything you’re going to do. Anything. You have to understand how to establish, maintain and sustain relationships. Sometimes it’s not an easy thing to do when you don’t work hard enough at doing it,” said Lynam.
When listening to Lynam get caught up in his passionate rants about basketball, it feels like audiences get a glimpse into what it was like to get coached and motivated by Lynam. His success as an analyst is indisputable because his deep knowledge about the game of basketball translates to audiences since he is earnest and easy to listen to. To hear his takes as an analyst feels like we get exposed to the inner workings of a coach’s mind, and that makes his stories and reasonings so intriguing.
No matter if Lynam is talking about coaching or raising a family alongside a successful career, his enthusiasm is apparent in all that he does.