David Fizdale Rumors
“The first call I get was Dwyane Wade, Gabrielle Union, Chris Bosh, and Adrienne Bosh, all on vacation together. They were almost in tears for me on the phone. So when you get that kind of love from guys you spent so much time with, it gets to you.” And a few minutes after a playoff win over the Raptors, Cavaliers star LeBron James and coach Tyronn Lue texted Fizdale to congratulate him on joining the head coaching fraternity. “I know a lot of people were rooting for me to get this job,” Fizdale said. “I think the timing was right. The people were right. My mentors just told me to do my job that I have and don’t worry about what’s next and people will notice. And I really tried to pride myself on keeping my head down and grinding my way through this thing.
Most new NBA coaches take over reclamation projects, but that is not the case with Fizdale. The Grizzlies return Mike Conley — the highest-paid player in league history — along with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, and have the newly signed Chandler Parsons. The Grizzlies will be expected to make a deep playoff run. “That was the only way I wanted it, to be honest with you,” Fizdale said. “I didn’t want to take over a restart. I’m not afraid to coach guys. But I am going to coach them to win and I am going to hold them to a high standard. I was OK with that. If I don’t have any other strength, I’m pretty good at building relationships. I don’t know if people were looking at that Memphis job the way it should have been looked at. A lot of guys in my situation very rarely get a situation with this many proven players.
Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace today announced that the organization has hired Bob Bender as an assistant coach and Bob Thate as shooting coach on head coach David Fizdale’s staff. Per team policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.
“It came towards the end of my career when I joined the Heat. David Fitzdale is one of the guys who inspired and talked me into coaching,” Howard said. “I’m always going to point the finger at him. At first my mind-set was built on working in the front office, being a scout, and building my way up. “I had a great conversation one time. Coach Fitzdale came to my house and we had a drink of wine and we were talking and he felt like this team needed me. He felt also the way I grabbed the respect from the guys in the locker room and the leadership qualities and also my knowledge and experience from the game of basketball, that it would be needed on his staff.”
When you heard the news of the African-American men killed by police recently in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, what came to mind? Rodney King. Took me all the way back to the riots [in 1992]. Took me back all the way back to, ‘I can’t believe this is still happening.’ Another black male being just like, treated like spit. Not being valued, and not … No one taking the time to take a deep breath again. And, again it’s another black male. This really takes you back to what you go through as a kid. I just remember a few times in high school right before the riots, you get pulled over and …
How common? I would say four times a week I got pulled over. I was like 15, 16 years old. I was going to high school. You know as a kid, only one guy had a car. So we pile in that thing four or five deep, you know. But that was like the trigger for, ‘Oh, we’re pulling that car over.’ It just got to a point where, it just didn’t feel like you can move around freely. And this was America, and we were good kids, we weren’t even bad kids, we were basketball players. Not that I didn’t have buddies that were gangbanging or family members that were gangbangers. But we were just basketball guys. All of us took great pride in being really good basketball players.