HERE IS MY EXPERIENCE WITH PLAYERS WHOM DECIDED TO QUIT ON
The New York Knicks quit on their coach, Don Nelson.
At one point during my traveled career, I was lucky enough
to get a call up to the New York Knicks.
I was extremely excited to get the nod. Don Nelson was the coach for the Knicks at
the time and it made sense to be called up and play for Coach Nelson. Four
years earlier, in 1992, he drafted me 50th overall, a second round
selection to the Golden State Warriors.
I knew very little back then about the situation going on
with the Knicks. I simply thought that
it was my turn to get called up to the "BIGS".
I was the No. 1 center in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA)
and playing good basketball. After
playing very well for the Fort Wayne Fury, in Indiana, my chance had come.
A MIDWEST IOWA KID WAS READY FOR THE BIG APPLE, NEW YORK,
HERE I COME!
I caught up with the Knicks in Phoenix. The next day, I watched
AC Green of the Suns get his teeth knocked out by J.R Reid of the Knicks. The Knicks' next game was against the L.A.
Lakers in the Forum. With Patrick Ewing faking an injury, Herb Williams traded
to Toronto and J.R. Reid suspended in the next game due to his elbow, I got to
start for the New York Knicks in the Forum, jumping center against Vlade Divac.
THIS WAS A DREAM COME TRUE.
Long story short, I scored 10 points, grabbed 6 rebounds, a
blocked shot and had an assist in 17 minutes.
That night, I led off SportsCenter. Had my time truly
It had not, as I played only 2 more minutes for the Knicks.
Next, back in New York we played against the Golden State
Warriors, the team in which I was originally drafted. At the end of the game,
the Knicks fans traditionally chant and cheer for the last person on the
bench. Me. I remember hearing Madison Square Garden
chanting, "We Want Fish". Unfathomable
I got in the game and with only a couple of minutes
remaining I scored two points; in Madison Square Garden, playing for the New
THE FANS APPROVED. UNREAL
The very next day, on my 11th day of my 10 day
contract, we were at shoot around as we were going to play against a team that
I had played on before, the Los Angeles Clippers. I was excited to have the
But it was not to be.
Don Nelson called me over during shoot around and put his large hand on
my shoulder and simply said, "Well, you are no longer on the team. You know how it goes." Days after, neither was he.
IT IS FUNNY HOW THINGS WORK OUT. UNBELIEVABLE
COACHING IN THE NBA IS A TOUGH JOB.
Successful NBA coaches demand respect and complete buy-in
from all members on the team, owners and management, including all coaches on
the staff, and fans. This is never an
easy balancing act.
A coach must have the ability to understand the game, opponents,
and style of play. Coaches make quick decisions under high pressure, must understand
rule changes and rule emphasis, have a rapport with officials and players. The
coach must understand line ups, continuity and the amount of guaranteed money
and years that exist on contracts that players have signed.
The most important skill a coach can possess is the skill of
A good coach motivates those around him, assembles a staff
that complements one other, takes the blame when things are not going right and
must have very thick skin.
Coaching is done, taking for granted that everyone has a
common goal in mind; to win.
Since the players make more money than the coach, the
players ultimately choose to play for a coach or not. Players may decide to run plays that suit
their selfish needs, or just decide not to play. Even others may decide they are injured,
injured or not. No question, in the NBA, players can decide if a coach stays or
Coach Nelson started the season with an 18-6 record, and
then hit a rough patch losing 19 of 35. He changed the line-up and made a few
trades and the relationship with the players and the coach quickly degenerated
into back stabbing, finger pointing and name-calling. Coach Nelson had a 3-year
$5.1 million contract come to an end that was signed only 8 months earlier.
Busting my hump in the CBA, I knew nothing of this. "What
more could I have done?" I asked myself. I learned of all this later in life
that nothing that could have been done.
I walked with a few thousand dollars and a memory to last a
I played for the Knicks, and I played well when given the
chance. My time with the Knicks was February 25th to March 5th,
1996. Although only a 10-day contract
that lasted 11 days, the memory will last a life-time.
This cannot be taken away from me. Unforgettable
I NEVER QUIT ON ANY COACH THAT I EVER PLAYED FOR.