HoopsHype.com Interviews

Eric Musselman: "I have no other hobbies aside from basketball"
by Alex Gozalbo / August 11, 2003

Eric Musselman


Coaching an NBA team is not easy. "Most players do things their way and there is a psychological job work to do," Warriors head coach Eric Musselman said during the International Clinic of Badalona. "The president of my club always tells me that I have to talk with them off the court so that they feel comfortable."

That is a difficult task sometimes. According to Musselman, most European players speak better English than many American players. "And that is not a joke," he added.

What kind of player you were?

Eric Musselman: I wasn't very good. I was just smart and I enjoyed working hard.

Your coaching career started very early. At the age of 27, you were already an assistant coach in Minnesota. To what extent did your father Bill Musselman influence your decision of becoming a coach?

EM: When kids my age were having fun watching cartoons, I was watching basketball games. Basketball is the only thing I know and I don't think I would be able to do any other thing. I have no other hobbies aside from basketball. The most important thing for me is basketball and that's what I do all day.

Is it harder to be listened when you are younger that some of the players?

EM: Not at all. It's all about earning respect. When I began my journey in the CBA, most of the players where older than me.

What are the main differences between the CBA and the NBA?

EM: Well, the superstars, the best players, are in the NBA. Besides, now defenses are tougher. In the CBA, meanwhile, you just run up and down the court all the time.

The Warriors' offense was good last year. You were the second-highest scoring team in the league. But your defense was not something about which you can take pride of...

EM: Our defense is the worst in the NBA. We have a lot of players with good offensive talent, but they don't like running downcourt. Besides, we are one of the youngest teams in the league and we lack experience.

Do you think you can win anything without a good defense?

EM: No. And playing good defense is our main goal for this season. We'll spend a lot of hours working on our defense this summer.

Which NBA teams do you like the most?

EM: Dallas and Sacramento. They have a beautiful playing style and it's a pleasure to watch one of their games.

But they don't win titles. Who do you think will be the main favorite this season?

EM: San Antonio. They have the best player in the NBA -- Tim Duncan. And they are the current champions. In my opinion, they are the team to beat. I also like the point guard Tony Parker. He is fabulous. He moves real quick and has really improved his outside shot. He looked comfortable in the championship series.

Golden State selected another French player -- Mickael Pietrus -- in the draft. What will be his role in the team?

EM: I've seen some tapes and it appears to be a very athletic player -- just like Derrick Zimmerman, our second-round pick. But Pietrus does need to improve his jump shot. That's why I don't expect him to contribute this season. Maybe he can be useful in the future. Meanwhile, he is not going to play much.

This year's draft was LeBron's draft. What's your opinion about Lebron skipping college for the NBA?

EM: (Laughs) LeBron doesn't need to go to college because he can buy one. His contract is spectacular. I think it's a problem because there are players that are not ready for the NBA. They need at least two years to make the adjustment.

Alex Gozalbo is a basketball writer for Gigantes. The interview was made last month during the International Clinic of Badalona (Spain).

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