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Quitting On A Coach - Unforgivable

HERE IS MY EXPERIENCE WITH PLAYERS WHOM DECIDED TO QUIT ON THEIR COACH....

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 come?!?

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 York Knicks. 

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 opportunity. 

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 ego management.

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 goes.

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 life-time.

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. UNFORGIVABLE

 

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