“Some people accused me of being stubborn all those years I didn’t change. I didn’t think I was being stubborn. I thought that was the way to do it. Why should I change if I know it’s the right thing to do?” It was right for the Phoenix Suns because he was the right coach at the right time, with a point guard, Steve Nash, ideal to run his style, and frontcourt players, Amar’e Stoudemire and Shawn Marion, suited to his small lineups. That could not work in New York when four starters were traded for a post-up player, Carmelo Anthony, to fit into an offense without post-ups, or Los Angeles, where the Lakers were breaking down rapidly.
Destiny can be changed, but sometimes, it knows what it’s doing. For D’Antoni, it even held up a flight to a life and success he could not imagine. “I thought I wanted to do something else outside of basketball,” D’Antoni said. “I didn’t want to spend my whole life in basketball. I would do other things. I was a pretty good student. My mom wanted me to be a doctor so I went to pre-med. But what I do best is coaching. After a while, life just happens. “I just try to be who I am, try to do what I need to do. If I’m doing the best I can do, I can live with whatever happens.”