During an emotional summer in which he left behind his …

During an emotional summer in which he left behind his first professional franchise, was (mis)cast as a villain for siding with a former enemy and found himself having to defend his character, Team USA provided a much-needed sanctuary. For nearly a month, Durant got to play the game he loves, bond with some new and old friends – and win – without sweating any manufactured controversies or external second-guessing. “It was therapy for me after making a big change in my life,” Durant told The Vertical in the bowels of Carioca Arena 1 about an hour after scoring 30 points in Sunday’s 96-66 victory. “It made my life easier … I knew [a backlash] was coming. It was definitely different for me, but to come here in an environment where people accepted me and didn’t care about anything except being my buddy, that’s what I needed.”

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Durant doesn’t like to admit it, but he is sensitive to negative perceptions, and has had to adjust to criticism from fans in Oklahoma City who once cheered him and others who were disappointed that he decided to form a super team with players who eliminated him from the postseason in a heated seven-game series. “I can’t let anybody steal my joy,” Durant said while crediting the presence of Team USA and former Oklahoma City assistant Monty Williams with developing that approach. “Monty Williams used to tell me that every day: don’t let anybody steal my joy. I get joy when I’m out there playing and it went to another level just playing alongside these great players and playing under Coach K and his staff. I focused on that. All that noise around me kind of quieted down.”
Bogut also blasted the the call that saw him fouled out, accusing Spain’s Ricky Rubio of taking a “Superman dive”. “The referees bought it, as usual,” Bogut said. “They’ll look back at the tape and see how obviously bad they were “When you blatantly dive into someone and fall over, that’s a tough way to play. I don’t blame Spain. If the referees are calling it, you keep doing it.”
Kyrie Irving: This gold medal officially caps off my whole year and I couldn't be more fatigued and happy at the same time lol, but it was all worth it. Azurie, Dad, Asia, London, this one if definitely for y'all. Love you guys till the moon and back, forever and ever. Another step in the journey. Go USA!!

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Krzyzewski, 69, will hand the reins to San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich as he leaves Team USA after nearly 11 years and with a 24-0 record in the Olympics. "I've been really a lucky guy, collegiately and internationally to be part of championship teams," said Krzyzewski, commonly called "Coach K." "I'm just proud of the fact that Jerry Colangelo when he took over, he gave me an opportunity," said Krzyzewski, who modestly deflected any credit for his success and instead praised veterans like team captain Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant.
When asked by an international reporter about the margin of victory in the finale, Jerry Colangelo — the former NBA executive and owner who rehabilitated the national program in 2005 — made it quite clear that he wasn’t about to apologize for the one-sided outcome. “I’m all for raising the bar for global basketball,” he began. “The more interest in basketball on all levels, I’m for. I’m a lifer in the game. I love the game. Basketball is the No. 2 sport in the world, (but) we just need to see these other countries get their acts together and become more competitive.
They needed the scoring machine from the 2010 FIBA World Cup and 2012 London Olympics. But Durant was concerned with making sure other players involved. It was one of those situations where being too unselfish is a detriment to the team. U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski pulled video from that the 2010 World Cup — 33 points against Russia, 28 against Lithuania and 28 against Turkey. “He told me, ‘I want to see that guy again,’ ” Durant said.
In the final three games of the tournament, he averaged 23.4 points and shot 55.6% from the field and 55% on three-pointers. “Just woke up I guess," Durant said. "My teammates were supporting me (and) cheering me on along the way. Everybody was encouraging me. I just went out there and had fun with the game. When I’m smiling and screaming and beating my chest and showing emotion, that’s when I’m lost in the game. I got away from that a couple of games. “When the knockout round came … I just tried to go out there and be who I am. Coaches told me to be me. I went out there and did that.”
As he said in the press conference after the game according to the Spanish news agency EFE: “I do not know how I will process all of this. I love to play in the national team of my country and I feel something special. It’s very special. I’ll do everything I can but I will not be rigid in any thing that has to do with the national team. There is a lot of talent and I love being on top of the tournaments. As times goes by, I will have to leave and when the time comes I’ll do it. It’s part of my career. I can not ask for anything more. All of this is a gift and I’ll play any time I can. It will be an honor. I’m having fun”.
According to the Spanish news agency EFE, the Italian coach who is the most succesful coach in the history of the Spanish national team stressed the fact that “in a complicated tournament from the beggining” the team found its way: “This team and the players to come and the Spanish sport in general owes a lot to the veteran players on our team and those who have left in previous years. They have changed the way we see elite sport in our country. I found a great sport but low in competitiveness when I came to Spain. They have managed to cultivate ambition and self confidence”. Speaking about the tournament, he added: “We are happy and proud of this achievement. This medal is the ultimate conquest of any professional engaged in sports. I thank my players for the attitude and composure in a difficult time. It was a difficult year, a difficult tournament with two defeats at the start, which is unusual. We recovered, we stood up and we could reach our goal, achieving a medal”.
Here's a transcription of Melo's interview: We fought. It wasn't always pretty. We came together July 17, and we all committed for this reason. It was a special moment for me. I know this is the end. This is it for me. I committed to something .... I committed to this in '04. I've seen the worst and I've seen the best. I stuck with it, we stuck with it. I'm here today, three gold medals later. I'm excited for me, but also for the other guys who have never experienced anything like this. Coach K, myself, Jerry Colangelo and everybody else who have been a part of this since I've been here. I just want to say thank you for allowing me to be one of the leaders, not just of our team but of the country. Despite everything that's going on right now in our country, we got to be united. I'm glad I did what I did, I stepped up the challenge but this is what it's about. Representing our country on the biggest stage you can be on. America will be great again, I believe that. We got a lot of work to do but one step at a time. I'm glad we represented it in the fashion that we did.
Jusuf Nurkic: Proud of my boy! Now We have work to do. #maliglavugore #nuggets
Yao Ming: Eight years later, my country was hosting the Summer Games in Beijing. I wasn’t a kid anymore. I was the leader of our team. Three days before the opening ceremony, we played an exhibition game against Russia. Andrei Kirilenko was playing for them at the time. We had a terrible game. Nothing was working. After the game, Donnie Nelson, the general manager for the Mavericks and an advisor to the head coach of the Chinese national team, came into our locker room, outraged. “If you guys are going to play like that, maybe you shouldn’t go to your own Olympics!” he said.
Yao Ming: Beijing was an incredibly proud moment for me and for my country, but whenever someone talks about the Olympics, my mind still goes back to the picture from Sydney. I’m a fan of astronomy. When I look at that photo, of all those athletes, it reminds me of a galaxy. Before my first trip to the Olympics in 2000, I was really just focused on myself, my family and my team. I had a very small circle. At age 20, I looked at the photo and just wanted to find myself, one individual, in that galaxy. All these years later, I see a different circle, a much bigger one — one that we’re all part of. Even at my height, I’m the same size as everyone else in that photo. It makes me realize just how small I was — how small we all are.
Twelve years after their bronze finish in the Athens Games sparked so much change in the national program, and a decade after a bronze finish in the FIBA World Championship in Japan had Mike Krzyzewski’s tenure as Team USA coach off to an inauspicious start, their run of perfection continues. With the win, Team USA — this 2016 version that was led by Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Paul George and all the rest — has won 52 consecutive games in FIBA play (24 in the Olympics). In a rematch of their Aug. 12 pool play game in which they won by just three points, Team USA wasted little time pulling away in this one. After leading by one late in the first quarter, they finished the first half on a 36-14 run and led 52-29 at halftime.
Constructing a team of players who have never featured in an Olympics with the parameters of eligibilty, age, USA Basketball ties and position, Sports Illustrated's Ben Golliver projects Lillard as one of three point guards to represent the red, white and blue in Tokyo. Writes Golliver: "After missing out in 2014, Portland’s two-time All-Star was out of consideration for Rio, and then back in, and then out again, citing a foot ailment when all was said and done. While Lillard’s volume three-point shooting is his biggest strength, his familiarity playing on and off the ball would be a nice asset if he shared a roster with both [Stephen] Curry and [John] Wall. Lillard’s off-criticized defense and his redundancy with Curry might lead to some fit questions, but he’s one of the few proven All-Star talents without Olympic experience who will still be under 30 in 2020."
In a subsequent interview with USA TODAY Sports, James said, "It would be pretty amazing to be able to actually play for the greatest NBA coach of all time." Krzyzewski will coach his final game for USA in Sunday’s gold medal game against Serbia, and Popovich, the San Antonio Spurs’ coach, will take over for the next Olympic cycle.
“First off all Coach K and Gregg Popovich are two my favorites of all time," James said. "To be able to play for Coach K in the Olympics and world championships and to be able to go against Coach Pop in the NBA, it would be a treat. Obviously my body has to continue to be in the form that it is today four years from now."
Gasol, who will spend next season in San Antonio and hasn't committed to playing at Tokyo in 2020, and his teammates celebrated by piling on top of each other near center court. This wasn't the medal they wanted, but after losing their first two games in Brazil, it beats nothing. "Unbelievable," said Rudy Fernandez. "It's an amazing feeling. We played very bad at first in the tournament, but we just continued to play hard and with a medal, it's unbelievable."
The Aussies simply lowered their heads. Another close call. Another disappointment. As upset as he was at losing, Bogut was equally angry about the officiating. "They fall over and get fouls and go to the free throw line the whole game," he said. "It's unbelievable. You just dive into guys recklessly and get calls like that. It's tough to play like that."
“We got the bronze, but they deserve it, too, because they had a great tournament,” said Spain’s Victor Claver. And Australia certainly did, in fact it was their best Olympic finish in 14 appearances, and it was a shame that they missed out by a fraction. “Just heartbroken, it’s tough,” Australia’s David Andersen said, not mincing his words.
Nikola Mirotic helped Spain get off to a strong start with eight points in the first quarter. He injured his right knee in a collision with Aron Baynes early in the fourth, but returned after a brief stint on the bench and finished with 14 points and seven rebounds. Afterward, Mirotic said the initial injury scared him “a lot,” saying the collision was “very strong, knees against knees.”
“But it was the last five minutes of the tournament,” he continued. “I didn’t want to miss that opportunity to play. I was hot in that moment too, so I didn’t feel a lot of pain. Right now, I’m feeling hurt. But it’s OK. We won the medal. That’s the most important thing. Hopefully, this is nothing. I need to do some tests now and I expect it’s all good.”
After the U.S. men’s basketball team finished practice on Tuesday, Klay Thompson rushed out of the gym to catch up with Schmidt and take a photo. “He’s a great icon for basketball,” Thompson said. “I look up to him. He’s a great shooter and a great player.”
He is the Olympics' all-time leading scorer (1,093 points), the leader for most points at one Olympics (338 at the 1988 Seoul Olympics) and has four of the top-five highest single-game scoring records – 55 against Spain, 46 against the Soviet Union, 46 and against Puerto Rico in 1988 and 45 against Puerto Rico in 1996 when he was 38 years old. In 1988, he averaged 42.2 points in eight games. All that scoring earned him the nickname Mao Santa – Holy Hand. “Because I played too much,” Schmidt said when asked to explain his scoring.
Asked about his favorite Olympic moment, he didn’t talk about one of his 40-point games. He recalled a missed baseline jumper near the end of Brazil’s 110-105 quarterfinal loss to the Soviet Union. A made would’ve tied the game. “At that Olympics in Seoul, I felt we could win the Olympics,” Schmidt said. “I missed that shot and that shot remains here.” He pointed to his head. “Not just because we lost the opportunity but because our coach was fired,” he said.
Many of Voigt’s players paid for their own flights (and most flew coach) and accommodations. Playing for Team Nigeria is a complete commitment, and Voigt, who is no longer under contract, is hoping that the country will invest more money into the basketball program. “It’s pretty well known we didn’t receive any support. We did this on our own,” Voigt said. “We’ve faced hardships as a team that other teams in our group couldn’t even fathom. The fact that they can get here and be as competitive as they were, I think it speaks volumes to them. “Just something as simple as having food for our players and having a flight to where they’re going and having insurance for our top players may be a huge swing in terms of what we do. I’m just trying to catch my breath, to be honest. We understand that’s not necessarily where the country is right now, but even the smallest level of support can reap huge rewards for what we can do.”
Anthony has been criticized for his inability to capture an NBA championship – and the failings of the New York Knicks in recent years – but didn’t hesitate when asked hypothetically if he would trade all of his medals for one ring in the league. “I wouldn’t trade, hopefully my three gold medals, in for nothing,” Anthony told The Vertical. “I hope I’m never put in that position. That’s a tough position. But I always say, ‘Winning is winning is winning.’ No matter what level you win on. Hopefully, I do get an NBA ring, but that’s two things. … I wouldn’t try to compare or force myself to make that comparison.”
Team USA had taken enough of a hit back home, but Anthony absorbed an unfair portion of the blame in Greece for someone who rarely played. Because he did a poor job of hiding his frustration, he was often captured after practices shirtless instead of covered in USA Basketball gear – and coach Larry Brown had no problem singling him out – Anthony’s behavior was interpreted as someone who didn’t want to be there, and hadn’t bought into the program. It was a tough spot for any kid – especially a barely 20-year-old who had just finished his first season in the NBA. Anthony was hurt, misunderstood and always knew that he wasn’t going out like that. “It left a bitter taste in my mouth,” Anthony told The Vertical. “I’ve always owned up to whatever it was. Even if it wasn’t my fault, I always take the onus on my shoulders and roll with the punches. But that’s what makes this situation much better.”
Duke University coach Krzyzewski, better known as "Coach K," was chosen and the results have been spectacular -- an 87-1 record entering Sunday's gold medal game against Serbia, the only loss coming to Greece in a 2006 World Championships semi-final. "I've learned so much," Krzyzewski said. "I've learned from my players. I've learned from the international community. I've learned about the beauty of international play. Over the last 11 years I've gotten better as a result of being given the honour of coaching, so it has been a beautiful thing for me."
“I really wanted to play (on this team),” Jordan said. “If I didn’t, then I would have worked my (expletive) off in the summer and got ready for the (NBA) season. But when the opportunity came, I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m down. I’m going. I’m playing.’ “From the journey that I’ve had in this league, from being a second-round pick (out of Texas A&M in 2008), falling in the draft, not playing a lot my first two years and then finally playing a little bit, and kind of coming up short a little bit each year. But this is cool to be one of the 12 guys to represent the whole country on the basketball court.”
When asked if he felt that Spain had just squandered its best-ever chance to finally beat the United States in the Olympics for the first time in 12 tries -- even with brother Marc Gasol absent through injury -- Pau didn't hesitate. "I think so," Pau said. "That's just the way I feel. I don't think they are playing as well as other times they have played [in the Olympics]. They're still a very talented team individually. I just feel like if we would have been a lot sharper with our shots, move the ball a little better, if we would have boxed out a little more ... then you're talking about a whole different story."
Spain has long been a viable threat, having made it difficult for the U.S. to claim gold in the previous two Olympics. But Friday’s game wasn’t quite the same serious threat without Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, and with Pau Gasol and the rest of that team’s core getting older. Even with Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic in foul trouble, the Americans could never pull away comfortably. They were never in danger of losing but the killer instinct – the desire to dominate – was lacking. Pau Gasol felt Spain squandered its best chance to defeat the U.S. “They are not playing as well as other times they’ve played,” Pau Gasol said after the loss, “but they are still a very talented team individually.”
Coach K expected a game against Spain down the road, but compared to the previous two Olympic Games finals, this was a different animal: “We knew when we first started training camp that there was a great, great chance that we were going to play Spain at some point. We’ve had some great, great games against Spain, some unbelievably competitive games. We expected the same today and we got it. It was a different type of a game. It was a very hard game and both teams had to … it wasn’t easy flowing, and both teams had to make big plays. I thought our guys did that a little bit more than they did, and that’s why we won. DeAndre (Jordan) was huge, 16 rebounds, but also Pau’s a great player and not that he, no one’s going to stop him, but he made him work all the time. Getting the rebounds were amazing, and then Klay played the most minutes he’s played and came through. I thought Kyle Lowry just gave us a huge spark, so I’m really proud of my team. That was the most different game I’ve coached internationally for the United States. It was just a real different game today”.
Despite the defeat by USA, Spain still has the goal of the bronze medal and Pau Gasol is ready to go. As he said after the end of the game: “An Olympic medal is an Olympic medal, no if it’s bronze, so we will fight for it”. For the semifinal result and his condition in the game he added: “I played strong and intense. I tried to give everything and I did not feel 100% ready but I’m happy that I have played”.
Just as with Team USA, the Warriors will undoubtedly prefer a Durant who is willing to defer but doesn’t detour much from what makes him special. So once again, USA Basketball can serve as the springboard for the next approaching hurdle. This preliminary exam for the next phase of his NBA career will only be passed with a gold medal. “I know if I go out there and be who I am, the outcome will dictate itself,” Durant said. “Because I know I put the work in. I love the game. I study the game. So if I go out there and let that stuff take over instead of me getting in my own way mentally, good results will come out of it. I’m not saying I don’t care about winning and losing. Obviously, I prepare the right way. I work hard and I love playing the game with my teammates, but I can’t overthink the game too much.”
The U.S. pulled away to win 118-107 in Beijing, then fought off an even fiercer challenge in London, winning 107-100. And when the Spanish opened this tournament with two straight losses, it was easy to think they wouldn't get another shot at the Americans. Spain never discounted its chances. Neither did the U.S. "We've always felt Spain, they'd have a gold-medal chance, and why wouldn't we think that?" U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "The last two gold-medal games we've played were against them and they were great, great games."
"I never said they were too old. I never said any of those things. Other people are making comments. All we've said is we have great respect for them," said USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo, adding that Spain was one of the models he looked at when he took over the program in 2005. Added Krzyzewski: "They show up and they show up big time."
His mother, Tona, was certainly one of them. The point guard spent all of last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves watching from afar as Tona's body slowly succumbed to lung cancer, and there were times that he wondered if he should be playing at all. "Sometimes at night during the season I was going through hell," Rubio told The Associated Press as Spain prepared for a showdown with the United States in the Rio Olympics semifinals Friday. "Waking up in, who knows, Sacramento, in LA, in the middle of the night alone in a hotel and thinking, 'Why am I here? Is it really worth it?'"
Rubio has always looked forward to playing for the Spanish national team. He started practicing with them at 16 and sees his teammates as a surrogate family that helped raise him from a child prodigy into a trusted veteran. But when Tona passed, Rubio thought long and hard about pulling out of Rio to be with his father and two siblings back in Spain. "At one point when everything happened, you think what's the best?" Rubio said. "Stay with your family? Stay back home? Or sacrifice one more time everything for one goal, which is the gold medal, and dedicate it to her."
Thibodeau has studied Rubio as an NBA player, and an Olympian. ‘‘I’ve watched him quite a bit,’’ Thibodeau said Thursday at the U.S. team practice. ‘‘I watched a lot of our games from last year and of course here. And from coaching against him I think I have a pretty good feel for all of the things he brings to a team. ‘‘He has the ability to make other people a lot better. He gets easy baskets for everybody. Very unselfish, plays for the team. We’re concerned, but I’m glad that he’s healthy. I had a chance to talk to him yesterday for a few minutes, and he seems to be doing well.
“To see that, and to feel that unity (at the game) with all that’s going on in our country right now, it was amazing. Just to hear ‘USA,’ it just shows that we’re the most powerful and greatest country there is, and to see everyone come together no matter (the) race, no matter the background, anything, just to hear that, that’s what I thought about. It was amazing, man. I wish I could’ve taped that moment, but I didn’t have my phone on me. The fans just have so much pride, man, and I feel like we can do that (in America). But we’re just so separated, man. It’s sad to see. I just hope at some point, as a nation, that we just start to find it,” said Durant, who looked plenty motivated in the 105-78 win over Argentina in which he had 27 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
The Spaniards are getting ready for their fourth chance in a row to beat USA in the Olympics and Juan Carlos Navarro believes that his teams has a good chance. According to the Spanish news agency EFE, when Navarro was asked if Spain can win his answer was the following: “There have been other teams in this tournament which have been very close to beat them, so why not us? We have come here to try to win and if we play our cards right and we are ready, why not…”
“As years go on, I’m starting to think the game a little bit more, on how to be a better leader and how make my teammates better, outside of just being tunnel vision every time I get it, I score it. I’m still trying to find the balance,” Durant said this week. “It’s a good place to be, when people rely on you do to so much, but also be yourself to the core. It’s a learning period. It takes some time to figure that sweet spot out and I’m still learning.”
Parker said he told San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich this would be his final international competition. "I want to end my Spurs career on a high note. I want to play five more years," Parker said.
“I'm very happy that I took part in an historical cycle. This was unthinkable to me,” Nocioni said. “I thought about being in the Olympic Games once, and now I'm retiring with four, there is no way to explain this rationally. When I was a little kid everything I just wanted was to defend this jersey and play a South American (championship). It's incredible, it just has been an incredible career."
After Croatia’s defeat by Serbia in the Olympic quarterfinal, Dario Saric didn’t hold back anything when he made his self criticism. “I don’t know what to say. We have lost to Serbia again. And I have played like the biggest p–y”, he said to Sportske.Jutarnji.hr. Saric scored 7 points and grabbed 4 rebounds, shooting with 3/7 from the field and 1/4 from the line.
Scariolo: "We continue with his treatments and the truth is that we needed him right now. We hope his condition to evolve well and at least be ready to help as much as he can his teammates in the game. I can not say anything more right now." In any case it seems highly unlikely that Gasol will miss a historic match up, unless there’s a real big health issue preventing him to be on the court.
Nikola Mirotic: "Ey JIMMY... YES WE CAN 🇪🇸"
Manu Ginobili's emotions were jumbled as he tried to put his Olympic journey into words. Long after his last game inside the rings ended, the balding forward who once again had done all he could in defeat returned to the floor and was handed the game ball. Ginobili tucked it under his left arm and looked like he would never let it go. The golden trip for Ginobili and Argentina is over. "It's been an amazing run," he said, with his eyes watery and his voice strained.
So both Krzyzewski and Team USA veteran Carmelo Anthony, who was just a 20-year-old on the roster in 2004, made sure not to leave the floor without letting Ginobili, now 39, know how honored they were to scrap with the Argentines for all these years. "I'm not going to say the exact words [they told me]," Ginobili said. "They were just very cool and important displays of affection and respect."
If not your heart, Ginobili and Scola and their countrymen always won your respect with how hard they played, how together they were, how proud they will forever be to have worn their country's colors. The nation responsible for plunging USA Basketball into the deepest of self-examinations, resulting in a total overhaul of the program and, yes, the hiring of Krzyzewski as coach, is irresistible to a hoops lifer. "First of all, we beat an outstanding ... not just a team," Krzyzewski said. "They're what I call a program. An amazing culture. "Congratulations to Argentina and the magnificence they've shown the world for the last almost two decades."
“It was an Olympic gold medal. And you’re talking about Argentina. You’re not talking about the U.S. or Serbia or Lithuania or Russia. It’s Argentina. We don’t have any basketball history. We never thought we were going to be able to say that,” Scola said. “Our goal in 1999, we get together in Puerto Rico, our whole goal for our whole career was to get to the Olympics and play there. Not winning. Not making it to the quarterfinals, not make it to the semifinals. Not making the medal. Just be there. That’s all we wanted. And that’s ’99. That was five years before we won the gold medal.”
So Spain will now fight for the medals. They will take on the USA or Argentina in the Semi-Finals. "Spain had a great generation," Parker said. "If it hadn't been for Spain, I would have had 10 medals, 15 medals. But life is like that." Parker then joked again: "I beat Pau a lot in the NBA so, it balances out."
During the Thunder's latest playoff run, Steven Adams became a worldwide star. His older sister, Valerie, was already one. Valerie entered the Rio Olympics as a two-time gold medalist in the women's shot put. She took home silver last week for New Zealand. In an interview with Sky Sport New Zealand, Steven said he's happy to take a backseat to big sis. “I didn't really appreciate it as much as I do now,” Steven said. “Witnessing her in that environment just blew me away.
Storyline: Olympic Games
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October 16, 2021 | 12:01 pm EDT Update
Joining Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson’s ‘All the Smoke’, the three-time All-star talked about how things started when he was still up and coming into the league. “Our relationship was definitely strained at the end. I think I held onto that rookie year, not starting — how he didn’t really play me, and would play me a couple of minutes here. I think I took that personally for a while when I was younger and kind of held that grudge. So, I think that affected me a little bit.”
Williams further admitted that at certain times, it was his fault for being a stubborn one. “I was definitely a little s*** at times — a little prima donna. I also, I knew how coach Sloan was, and I think I kind of would poke the bear just to see his reactions, too. It was kind of like a little back and forth thing; s*** that I definitely wouldn’t do now, knowing what I know now. But I always respected coach Sloan; I learned a lot from him. My best years were definitely in Utah. I got a lot of love and respect for him as a coach and as a person.”
The 37-year-old former point guard finally revealed that he fixed what was broken with him and the coaching icon a few years back before its death. “I always knew I needed to reach out and apologize. He was definitely regressing a little bit. And our conversations were kind of, they actually got heated a couple times — well he got heated a couple times. It was almost like he was right back in the moment when I pissed him off. But I was happy I was able to get a chance before he passed, to talk with him and apologize for being a little s***.”
October 16, 2021 | 11:44 am EDT Update