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July 7, 2022 | 10:03 am EDT Update
Darvin Ham’s first NBA head coaching job includes the prestige and pleasure of coaching the 17-time champion Los Angeles Lakers, who are always dreaming of a title. The Lakers’ roster includes arguably the NBA’s greatest player ever in LeBron James, injury-riddled star Anthony Davis and struggling star Russell Westbrook. There are not a lot of first-year NBA head coaches who have dealt with this level of pressure. But considering the near-death situations, painful deaths of loved ones, and the long odds that Ham has overcome to win an NBA championship after going undrafted, he respectfully says the pressure of joining the Lakers does not scare him.
“It’s really not pressure,” Ham, 48, recently told Andscape. “I’ve been through so much s— in my life. When people say pressure, come on, fam. Pressure is like the boogeyman is only real in your mind. The boogeyman doesn’t exist to me. I’ve literally almost been killed before, bro. So, I understand what the challenge is. I don’t want to say expectations. It’s the order of things. I understand what the order of things are with this franchise, and I embrace it, accept it 1,000% because I’m built like that.”
What was your selling point to the Lakers when you interviewed for the head coach job? Darvin Ham: We ain’t about all the bells and whistles. I just told them, ‘These guys need to be coached. They need to be coached hard.’ It was three words that led my whole interview process. The three words I believe in, the three words that made me who I am, and the three words that are going forward with this new Lakers era. And that is competitiveness, togetherness, and accountability. And that rung true. They’re seeing it with the type of staff I’m putting together. They’ve seen it with the type of energy, the new energy that’s in the building. No disrespect to none of these teams at the bottom of the food chain, but I’m not coming from one of those teams. I’m coming from an organization [the Milwaukee Bucks] that’s fresh off a championship and knows how to do things.