By Michael Melkonian
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
LOS ANGELES — The National Basketball Association (NBA) is one of the most popular sporting leagues in the world; in the United States, the NBA is on its way to eclipsing the National Football League (NFL). Its growing popularity leads to some of the greatest coaching minds in sports vying for a shot to lead a team in the league. With only 30 NBA teams, there are 30 head coaching slots in contention along with staff positions, making it an exclusive club — and Rex Kalamian has earned his highly coveted spot as an assistant coach.
His intense passion for the sport, his strategic mind, and unmitigated dedication have led him to take part in some of the sport’s most monumental events, including coaching a game in the NBA Finals and the fan favorite NBA All-Star games.
Kalamian is a second-generation Armenian-American, born and raised in Los Angeles to parents born in the Bronx. His grandmother, Yevkine Yermanian, was from Amasya and Sapastia, in Western Armenia (now Turkey), who survived the Genocide — unfortunately, her father, mother, and the rest of her siblings didn’t. Yermanian ran away from the village and was taken in by a Turkish family, who then placed her in the Armenian orphanage for girls. At the age of 18, Kalamian’s grandmother left the orphanage and managed to get onto a boat to Ellis Island, where she started her new life and a family.
Kalamian is married and he and his family live in Los Angeles.