20 Second Timeout is the place to find the best analysis and commentary about the NBA.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Ten Great Coaching Soundbites

Here are ten of my favorite coaching soundbites, as captured on the sidelines over the years by the microphones of NBA Entertainment. I don't know if these will translate well to print without the audio and video and several of them may resonate more to fans who remember the 1980s and early 1990s. Why post this now? Simple--there may be some dark days ahead for those of us who love the NBA but sometimes you just need to take a moment to smile and reminisce:

1) "Don't leave Michael alone here. It's not time yet." Phil Jackson's exhortation to Jordan's teammates served as both an acknowledgment of how much the team depended on Jordan to carry the day in the fourth quarter and as a reverse psychology tool to goad/shame the other players into performing better.

2) "In my next life, I'm going to come back as an official and straighten that mess out." OK, this one might carry another level of meaning at the moment, but when Cotton Fitzsimmons said it two decades ago it was just one of his many clever sideline retorts. Isn't that much more poetic than saying, "Ref, you blew the call?"

3) "All he did was flop, Hue. I coached him, I know. You haven't coached him. I coached him; I know what he did." That was Fitzsimmons at work again; he probably deserves a top ten of his own.

4) "You get the other (bleeping) stiff." Doug Moe affectionately calls everyone a "stiff," including himself. In this instance, he was doling out defensive assignments in a timeout huddle when he was the head coach of the Denver Nuggets.

5) "You've got a high school player taking a warm up jump shot. Make him do something. Stop being so darn sensitive about everything I say to you...If you listen to me, you're going to be a hell of a player in this league." Indiana Coach Dick Versace did not care much for either Detlef Schrempf's defense or his attitude on this particular occasion. I don't know how much credit Versace should get, but Schrempf did indeed turn out to be a very good NBA player.

6) "That is so selfish. That is so (bleeping) selfish." That's Versace again, grimacing in disgust and speaking under his breath to no one in particular about an unnamed Pacer.

7) "Face him up and bust his ass to the basket." Rick Adelman offered this direct instruction during a timeout when he was Portland's coach. The next frame shows Buck Williams dunking authoritatively but I'm not sure if that wasn't just some creative editing.

8) "They've been known to self destruct and take a bad shot when the time runs down." Detroit Coach Chuck Daly offered these words of wisdom to the Bad Boys Pistons--if I'm not mistaken, this was in reference to Adelman's Portland team in the 1990 NBA Finals.

9) "Did you pay for that seat? All right, keep talking then. I just don't like to hear it from the freebies." Utah Coach Frank Layden could match Fitzsimmons one liner for one liner. Layden once explained his team's acquisition of a certain 300-plus pound player by saying that it balanced the bench (by seating the new 300 pounder on the opposite side from another 300 pounder who was already on the roster).

10) "He don't want to guard you. He don't want to be on the same court with you." Larry Brown can be tough on players--and himself--at times but there were also moments when he decided that the best approach was to boost his players' confidence. I don't know if Brown was right--and I'm not positive who he was saying this to, although I think that it was Allen Iverson--but wouldn't you love to hear something like that from your coach?

posted by David Friedman @ 7:08 AM


links to this post


At Tuesday, July 24, 2007 10:34:00 AM, Blogger madnice said...

Fitzsimmons was one of my favorites coaches growing up. RIP

At Tuesday, July 24, 2007 3:38:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

He was one of a kind and I regret that I never had a chance to interview him. He was the Atlanta coach when Dr. J and Pistol Pete were briefly teammates; Erving told me that Fitzsimmons would be a great person to talk to about that time but Fitzsimmons passed away before I could set that up.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home