I remember when I played for the Heat.It was a wonderful opportunity to play under
Pat Riley and a team that at the time had the second best record in the NBA.I felt surrounded by an organization that had
compiled very goal oriented players and coaches, each trying hard to win. (I
didn't always get that feeling on the teams in which I played.)
Working for Coach Riley was not easy, but I felt I was treated
fairly.Once the two and a half hour
practice, the hour of weights, and the hour of film work were over and you had
put your time in, you were treated well. You were treated well so you wanted to put the
work in every day. The Heat had the best airplane, food, hotels and staff.It was like it should be, work hard and then
be treated well. Get treated well makes you want to work harder.
Coach Riley motivated me to want to get better as a player.
There were times when it was difficult to keep egos in
check. Not easy when the star players were Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway, Dan
Majerle and Jamal Mashburn. Keeping egos in check was a difficult task for such
a big name city with big name players with a big name organization. I am not
saying these players are egotistical, I am just saying that at that time, there
was no true feeling of who is the franchise player, with injuries and changing dynamics
it wasn't clear.I mean it was clear
that it wasn't me, but I didn't care, I was just happy to get the call up.
When I was there, I was the back-up to the back-up to the
back-up. I would play behind Isaac Austin, Ed Pickney, Mark Strickland, and
P.J. Brown. The only reason that I didn't play behind Alonzo Mourning is
because he was hurt. So basically, I didn't play.
Interesting to come from a situation (Fort Wayne Fury of the
Continental Basketball Association) where the offense was ran through me and I
would play as many minutes as I could muster being team captain.Then go to a team where I was swinging a
towel at the end of the bench.But I was
very happy to get called up to the NBA and the Heat, I was quite excited for
the elite opportunity.
I played very
little, but appreciated the experience and have always counted my blessings
being able to ride the coat tails of Riley and the Heat to the Eastern
I was involved with the Heat when they made it as far as the
organization had ever gone in their short history. I was a little upset when they went on to win
it all, but I knew that they were destined to do so. I am not "jocking" the
Heat I am just stating facts.
I played with many teams throughout my career.The Heat seemed to do things right. No state taxes
helps to draw players too, but the Heat had a system down that worked.
No secret: be organized, work hard, treat players fair and
make sure Coach Riley is near.I wish I
could go back and do it all over again, that was a great time in my life.