- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
NBA sets mark for minority coaches
“Actually, it’s not just what the NBA is doing now,” Smart said. “It’s the teams in general that are giving guys opportunities they may have overlooked a couple of years ago. They are probably saying, `These guys are just as qualified as everyone else. They should get a chance now to showcase their skills, they are fortunate to be in positions to have great teams, coach those great teams, and hopefully, they will have a chance to coach those teams to a championship.
“As each coach and minority coach gets an opportunity, they get a chance to move up the ladder to become a championship-type coach.”
Smart hasn’t had the opportunity to have a great team yet. He finally got to run his own NBA club last season after a lengthy career as an assistant and brief interim stint, leading the Warriors to a 36-46 record before he wasn’t retained after an ownership change. He was hired as an assistant with the Kings but quickly became the top man again after Paul Westphal was fired less than two weeks into the season.
Like the Warriors, the Kings had no playoff hopes. But Smart, who had his first head coaching job in the Continental Basketball Association, knows the top jobs don’t come right away.
“Sometimes you have to start at the bottom. But that’s not bad either because you want to learn as much as you can,” he said. “You have to do a little bit more and overwork yourself to be sharp, so when your opportunity comes it’s not because someone is giving it to you. You have to work your tail off to get to that position, be sharp, know all the coaching techniques, player-development styles, and be up on all the technology to make it work. Everything that comes before you, you have to be sharp and prepared. It’s best to be `more than prepared’ for it so you can be in that position to have success when your time has come.”
Stern has long shrugged off any credit the NBA gets for hiring minorities, saying the only thing that matters is picking the best candidates. Hollins, who engineered one of the NBA’s biggest playoff upsets in his second stint with the Grizzlies when they upset top-seeded San Antonio last year, has the same belief.
“I think there was a period of time where we didn’t take advantage and utilize the talents we had because we held one side back,” he said. “It’s the same as if you hold women back that are talented. Same if you hold Hispanics or Asians or any minority group for the status quo, because every group has something positive to add and can take your organization to a level it couldn’t have gone with somebody else _ not because of their color, but because of their talent.”
AP Sports Writers Tom Withers in Cleveland; Anne Peterson in Portland, Ore.; Associated Press writer Kyle Hightower in Orlando, Fla.; and AP freelance writers Clay Bailey in Memphis, Tenn.; Ken Powtak in Boston; and Antonio Harvey in Sacramento, Calif., contributed to this report.
By J.T. Young
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- BRUCE: Obama's bizarre immigration rules
- Unemployment insurance vote could happen next week
- Two liberals say Sarah Palin is right: Obama lacks substance
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- 'Holy grail of guitars' among those in N.Y. auction
- IRS to turn over Lerner emails in tea party targeting probe
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again