He’s deserved this for a while and it’s finally going to happen.
Don Nelson is going to go into the Hall of Fame, reports CSNBayArea.com.
The announcement will be made official Monday, but Nelson confirmed he got the call Wednesday morning to ESPN.
“It’s a great honor to cap my career,” Nelson said. “I’ve had a great time and a great life coaching basketball. I don’t actually need to be rewarded for anything, but I am very proud and my family is very proud of this award.”
Anyone who tries to equate Nelson with only his final few years in Golden State does not know the history of the man.
A man who happens to be the winningest coach in NBA history — 1,335 wins and a .557 winning percentage. That doesn’t happen by accident.
He was an offensive innovator who shunned conventional wisdom to come up with things like small ball and developing running offenses. He was a master of creating mismatches and exploiting them. While basketball can get to bogged down in coaches focusing on schemes to ugly up the games to get wins, he focused on opening it up and it led to entertaining basketball. He was a three time coach of the year in the NBA, and don’t forget he is also a legendary Celtics player who has his No. 19 hanging in the rafters at the Garden.
Oh, and he invented hack-a-Shaq. We’ll forgive him for that one.
This is a well-deserved honor. Enshrinement for Nelson and the other people elected in this class will be in September.
We live in a fantasy world where we like to believe that making it to the NBA is a meritocracy — only the very best get there because of skill and effort, not luck.
But why should the NBA be any different than where you work? You’re telling me the hierarchy at your office is based solely on merit? Your boss is really that smart?
Sure, if you bring Kobe/LeBron/Durant skills and effort to the table you are in. But when it gets to guys 10-15 on the roster there are a lot of factors that come into play. Luck is one of them.
Case in point, we bring you Sundiata Gaines.
He has bounced around the NBA with a bunch of short-term deals — and one crazy game winner — in the past year. And he was out of work again when New Jersey called just before the team left for games in London, as the Star-Ledger reports (via Ball Don’t Lie):
When the Nets realized they needed to sign a guard to bring with them to London because of injuries to point guards Deron Williams and Jordan Farmar, Gaines happened to be home in New York, which was convenient, and he also had a valid passport, which was essential.
“I just came home — I was in Minnesota — and New Jersey happened to call me, and asked me if I had a passport and if I could go to London, and I said, ‘I have my passport,’ ’’ Gaines explained.
Gaines got the call late Sunday night, Feb. 27, he said. The Nets had a home game against Phoenix the next night, and were leaving right after the game. Time was of the essence. Orien Greene, who had been with the team for an earlier stint, wasn’t near enough to get to New Jersey in time, so the Nets called Gaines, who three weeks earlier had been released by Toronto.
Gaines has some skills — he’s played well enough for the Nets to extend his deal though next season. But luck matters in life. And in the NBA.
In a lot of ways the NBA’s debut in London felt and looked like a regular NBA game (especially on television back home). Deron Williams broke Sonny Weems ankles on the crossover. DeMar DeRozan showed off a developing all-around game. The Raptors played no defense. Empty seats easy to spot in the crowd. Just like most NBA games.
But in the O2 arena things were a little different, according to the Associated Press.
The unusual venue meant the public announcer had to do some extra work, explaining some of the basic rules every now and then to the British crowd — like pointing out that a player fouled while shooting gets two free throws. And with crowd support split between the two teams — despite the Nets being listed as the home team — players had the rare experience of being booed by rival fans before every free throw, and then cheered by their own supporters if the shot was good.
There were enough people in the building who cared to boo and cheer for the Nets and Raptors? Wow, I guess this was special.
The NBA is in London. Right now.
The land of HP Sauce and The Kings Speech is getting a real NBA game. Well, it’s not like they are getting the NBA’s best product, they are getting the Nets against the Raptors (tip off at 3 p.m. Eastern Friday on NBA TV). They did not get Manchester United against Arsenal. This is more Blackburn against Birmingham. I’m mot sure what kind of crowd that would draw if those two English Premiere League teams played in New York.
But London will sell out the O2 Arena to see Deron Williams against Andrea Bargnani. It is part of the NBA’s effort to create a global brand as the elite basketball league on the planet. It is part of Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s plan to make his team more international.
But Doug Smith of the Toronto Star makes another good point (via Ball Don’t Lie).
Basketball is one of the marquee events of any Summer Olympics — especially with the presence of the globally popular NBAers who dot many of the national team rosters — but the game has no real grassroots appeal in London.
So part of the reason for the NBA games here is to increase awareness and, potentially, increase attention during the London Games so that organizers aren’t left scrambling to sell tickets to what’s normally a virtual sellout event.
No doubt basketball will sell out, and we here in the states will get to see all of it we want (right here on NBC). But this will not be the biggest sport with the locals. It’s not what they will be talking about in the pubs. And sending the Nets and Raptors isn’t really going to change that. It’s a baby step, if any kind of step at all.
There is enough chatter out there in the intelligence community that the United States warned travelers about potential terrorist attacks in Europe today.
Right as the Lakers, Knicks and Timberwolves are touring that continent of a preseason, game globalization trip. The Lakers and Timberwolves are in London, the Knicks in Milan. The Lakers will travel on to Barcelona.
Those trips will not stop, several team official told the Associated Press.
“The NBA is staying in contact with the U.S. embassy, the CIA and Scotland Yard,” Lakers spokesman John Black said. “They are keeping us informed of the situation.”
In a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press on Sunday, Mike Bass – the NBA senior vice president for marketing and communications – said the league is “taking all appropriate security measures” for the trip.
League commissioner David Stern is also in Europe as part of all these events. He and other players have been warned and they get additional security when they leave the hotel.
For Pau Gasol, this is not going to slow him down.
“I’ve been out of the hotel as much as possible,” Gasol said. “(London is) a great city to be out and walk around in, and experience things. It would be a crime to stay at the hotel.”