During my five week apprenticeship as a coach in College Basketball in the USA, I had plenty of interaction with the NBA too. Besides the NBA games, I had the chance to meet and discuss with these interesting coaches, on their practices or over lunch:
Brett Brown (headcoach Philadelphia 76’ers): Coach Brown is a first year NBA head coach after being Australia’s national team coach and being on Greg Popovic’s staff (San Antonio Spurs) for many years. In a previous blogpost, I already explained why I like him a lot. The fact that, after one month, he recognized me immediately, knew my background and my story for being here, shows his honest interest for international basketball.
Chris Finch (assistant coach Houston Rockets): Chris Finch worked for many years in Belgium (2x Coach of the Year, worked for Basket Bree and Mons). Next, he became headcoach of the UK national team, before going back to the USA to coach a D-League team and now being Kevin McHale’s first assistant in the NBA. I had a long discussion with him in a hotel in Philadelphia on my own development plan and opportunities.
Vance Walburg (Assistant coach Philadelphia 76’ers): Vance Walburg is the inventor of the well-known Dribble Drible Motion Offense, and is known for being being one of the greatest basketball minds. Besides being a head coach in College, assisting John Calipari (College), George Karl – Brett Brown (NBA), he travelled the world giving clinics on his offense. Over a long lunch, he shared some insights on his offensive ideas and on the game of basketball itself.
Off course, we grabbed the opportunity to attend a couple of times the ultimate event of basketball, a NBA game. In 1998, I was in the USA for the first time and very lucky to see the greatest player of all-time – Michael Jordan – play. This year, I came back and had the chance to see the best player and most impressive athlete of this generation – Lebron James – live on the court. I’ve visited the most famous and legendary basketball arena of the world (Madison Square Garden in New York), the futur NBA Champions (San Antonio Spurs – or if they mess up again like last year, maybe the Miami Heat) and the futur NBA Rookie of the Year (Michael Carter-Williams). On top of that, I’ve seen with Ricky Rubio & Tony Parker & others, the embodiment of the globalisation of the game of basketball. This confirms my belief that European basketball will one day really compete with Team USA. What more can you wish for?