Don Nelson Rumors
Ex-NBA player Stephen Jackson appeared on Michael Rapaport’s podcast “I AM RAPAPORT” and shared some of his best stories involving former Golden State Warriors coach Don Nelson and mind-altering substances. First, he described Nelson inviting him and Baron Davis to a bar a couple of days before the start of a season — presumably 2007-08 — and the three of them getting “wasted” on Macallan. Jackson had never drank scotch before, and said this created a bond between him and Nelson.
“This is crazy, nobody knows this story, so this is the first time somebody is hearing this story,” Jackson said. “We’re in Utah and the drug test people are around, you know, to get our last drug test, so we can smoke, right? And Don Nelson, we talked about weed all the time, he was cool with talking about weed. We got our last test in Utah, right? So me and Baron [Davis] are coming out the locker room just screaming, excited, right, with our last pink slip saying we could smoke for the rest of the season. And Don Nelson hauls ass down there giving us high-fives like, ‘Yeah, we can smoke now!’ It was cool, the fact that he knows what’s going on off the court with his players, which was great, man. We enjoyed it. And that’s why we were a great team.”
Nelson hired Popovich at a time when he and his star player, Chris Webber, were barely speaking, so Popovich became the intermediary, the guy whose job it was to tell Webber the hard truths about himself. “Pop was great,” Nellie says. “He’d tell Chris, ‘You’re just silly. You don’t get it. You’ve got to mature.’ Too bad he [Webber] didn’t listen. It took him until he was 35 to get there, and by then it was too late for us.”
Tom Orsborn: Interviewed Don Nelson for piece I’m doing on Pop. Nellie laughed out loud when told some say Pop’s in for rough time w/out Duncan. Don Nelson: “Pop’s an intelligent guy and he will adjust to anything… (Plus), Tim Duncan will always be a part of the Spurs. I’ve been around a lot of leaders in my life, but I’ve never been around a better leader than him.” #Spurs
Larry Riley was still the GM, he was the initiator of these talks (remember, he used to work in Milwaukee and had strong ties with the front office) and was justly proud of the decision to draft Curry in 2009. “Larry would’ve never traded Steph–that was his guy, his pick,” one NBA source who knows Riley well said recently. I’ve been tough on Riley over the years, but full credit (along with Don Nelson) for the Curry selection; Riley didn’t trade him during the 2009 draft and wasn’t going to trade him later.
Stephen Jackson in late February guaranteed that his “Warriors team would beat today’s Warriors team,” but Nelson, smoking a cigar on his Maui back porch before heading off to King Kamehameha Golf Club, disagreed. “I don’t think that we were close to the caliber that you guys have,” Nelson said. “Just talk about the center position, in and of itself, the new Warriors are way better at that position. You got Curry, the best point guard in the league. We didn’t really have Curry when we played Dallas that year. So you’d certainly get the nod there.