unguarded-lenny wilkens with terry pluto (part too)

“I’m proud of the fact that when I came to new jobs in Cleveland, Atlanta and Seattle (both times), my teams either set or tied franchise records for the most victories in a season. That’s the indication that the team improved while I was there, which is the real job of any coach.” (292)

“The teams that became NBA dynasties all had at least one great player who was the constant, who set the tone, demanded respect from the other players, and was willing to serve as a policeman in the dressing room. In Boston, the great player was Bill Russell. Later, it was Larry Bird. In Los Angeles, it was Magic Johnson. In Chicago, Michael Jordan. When Detroit won their back-to-back titles, the great player was Isiah Thomas.
Those guys were obsessed with winning. To them, winning meant more than money, more than fame, more than life itself. They not only drove themselves, they powered the entire team. They were like Superman, and their teammates knew they had to grab on to that cape or they’d be left behind.
We didn’t have that player. When I took over the Sonics, they’d never had a Rookie of the Year, an MVP, a scoring champion, or a Coach of the Year. When we won the title, the whole was far greater than the collection of the parts. In our title season, we had no one in the top ten in scoring…..We were a true share-the-ball, share-the-wealth team.” (187)

“As a player, I was a point guard, so I viewed the game not just from my perspective, but for what was best for the whole team. The coach does the same thing. It also never hurts to have some immediate success. Players are far more willing to sacrifice, to come off the bench, when they look up at the scoreboard at the end of the game and see that it paid off with a victory.” (168)

“I’ve had a lot of good players in my career, and that’s why I’ve won as many games as I have. But to last as many years as I have in the NBA and to win as many games as I have without players named Russell, Bird, Magic, Jordan, Chamberlain, or Abdul-Jabbar is something that makes me very proud.” (292)

thank you. i mean, sports are all about hurdles, and most teams don’t really have a chance. so why not make the most of it if you’re going to watch and dream bigger? allow ourselves to be inspired by the impossible, instead of stinking up the joint with “reality”? and that unicorn of a team that wins because it’s an actual team-i feel like we’ve been going that way as of late, and my fingers crossed for the most exciting season yet.

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