One last hello ... and goodbye

Updated: July 28, 2004, 8:36 AM ET
By Dr. Jack Ramsay | Special to ESPN.com

Word reached me that Cotton Fitzsimmons had lung cancer sometime in May. I tried to reach him by phone a couple of times but his old numbers were no longer in service. I was busy with my ESPN playoff broadcast schedule and kept putting off tracking him down. I finally got a number where he could be reached from Mike Woodson, then a Detroit assistant. I left messages and finally reached Cotton during the NBA Finals.

I spoke first to his loving wife, Joann, who said in a cheerful voice, "Cotton's ...

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