Barry Hecker Rumors
Hollins and Hecker remain associates despite the incident even though Hollins repeatedly had to scold Hecker for various acts deemed unprofessional by most in the organization. Yes, it is true that Hecker and Joerger never got along because of Hecker’s distrust of Joerger. Hollins even threatened to fire both years ago if they didn’t work out their differences. And, yes, it is true that Joerger hasn’t attempted to speak with Hollins since the end of last season.
Former Grizzlies assistant coach Barry Hecker has finally had his say. Hecker recently used The Sporting News to slam Griz coach Dave Joerger and explain his abrupt dismissal from the Grizzlies last season during their Western Conference semifinals series against the Oklahoma series. You can read thearticle here, but many people involved in the situation will take issue with his accounts although none of them find it worthwhile to publicly respond.
Here’s what I know: In the immediate aftermath, former Griz coach Lionel Hollins expected Hecker to return and was blindsided when Hecker went to human resources. Griz management (namely Mincberg) made the decision to terminate Hecker once he involved an attorney.
Everyone in the organization reviewed video footage of Hecker’s encounter with that Thunder fan and was disturbed by Hecker’s actions. The fan was a big-time attorney whom Hollins eventually called to apologize for the incident. Thunder general manager Sam Presti couldn’t have been more grateful to Hollins for the gesture.
In an interview with Sporting News, Hecker detailed the situation that led to his departure, which effectively ended a well-respected career of over 20 years with teams including the Grizzlies, Clippers and Cavaliers, and the tension within the Memphis coaching staff that preceded it. Not only was Hecker let go during the playoffs, but Hollins—winner of 56 games last season—was not retained after his contract expired. It started with a situation involving a fan sitting near the bench. One rumored version of the story had Hecker going after a young fan sitting courtside, telling him to sit down because he was blocking the coaches’ view. Hecker said that was not the case. “There was a big guy sitting there next to our bench,” Hecker recalled. “He had to be 6-4, 250 pounds. He kept standing up, and they stand up a lot there in Oklahoma City, I can understand all that. But I said to him, ‘Sir, can you please sit down in a timely fashion because I can’t see the game?’ He says, ‘Who are you?’ I said, ‘I am one of the assistant coaches.’ I told him, I understand standing up, it is exciting, you are in the front row. But he was blocking everybody.”
Hecker said there were high-school aged kids sitting with the offending stander, too, and that he also asked them to sit down. Eventually, he said, NBA security got involved and settled the matter. But, Hecker said, “I was getting calls, people were telling me I got into a fight with a 12-year-old or something. And I was like, ‘Well, I was not even at fault!’”