Longtime Jazz coach Frank Layden brings jokes while accepting Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award

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TORONTO – As president of the coaches association, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle presented former Jazz coach Frank Layden with the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award before Game 2 of the NBA Finals last night. Carlisle told a somewhat humorous story of meeting Layden then turned the floor to the honoree.

“Rick, how many more years you got in this term as president?” Layden asked.

“I don’t know,” Carlisle said.

“We got to work on your delivery a little bit,” Layden said. “You know you had them, quivering but not really laughing.”

Then the 87-year-old really got everyone rolling. He delivered an acceptance speech that was part thankful for his friends and family, part Rodney Dangerfield-esque standup routine.

Among the highlights:

  • “I’m at the stage of my life where people call up and say, ‘I’m looking for Frank Layden. Is he still alive?’ You know I understand that. So this is probably the last award I’ll ever receive.
  • “One of the things I heard about the group that made this selection, the selection committee, now when I realized that the coaches on that group, that I helped to put most of them in the Hall of Fame by losing to them constantly.”
  • When a joke fell flat: “Gosh, I thought I was talking in front of the BYU alumni.”
  • “I was very, very hard on the referees. You know, I remember Earl Strom one night, when we were getting killed by the Lakers, you know, and I said to Scottie, and of course at that time Phil Johnson was my assistant coach along with Scott, and I said, ‘Listen, you guys take over this game. Try to pull it out.’ I said, ‘I’m going across the street and get us a table for dinner. I’m going to get drunk.’ So I started on Strom, and just got after him something awful. … He was blowing the whistle and screaming and everything, and he is storming over at me, storming over, and he finally gets there. He says, ‘I know what you’re trying to do.’ He said, ‘But if I got to stay here and watch this (expletive), so do you. Sit down and shut up.'”
  • “I was thinking that about the referees and I really apologize to them on behalf – and I really mean it. I think I was too hard on them. If I could have changed things, I certainly would have. Instead of yelling at them, I would have paid them. It would have been a little more expensive, but it would have been quicker.”

Finally, Carlisle tried to end the speech.

“Anybody have any questions for Frank?” Carlisle asked the assembled media.

“Well, just one more thing,” Layden said. “Hey listen, listen, you got somewhere to go?”

“There’s a game in an hour!” Carlisle said.

As questions ended, Layden got in one last joke for Carlisle: “What, are you trying to impress the commissioner with that haircut?”