Donnie Walsh Rumors
“I am honored to take on the role as head coach of the Indiana Pacers,” said Bjorkgren. “This is something I have prepared for during my career. I want to thank Kevin, Chad (Buchanan), Kelly (Krauskopf), Larry Bird, Donnie Walsh, and Herb and Steve Simon for this opportunity. I also want to thank Nick Nurse for giving me my first professional coaching job 14 years ago.” “I’m looking forward to working with this great team to achieve our goal as NBA Champions.”
The award recipient is selected annually by a committee comprised of some of the most respected coaches and basketball executives in the game, including Bernie Bickerstaff, Billy Cunningham, Joe Dumars, Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich, Pat Riley, Donnie Walsh and Lenny Wilkens. The award has been given out since 2009. Tom Heinsohn was the first recipient and others to win the honor include Pat Riley, Lenny Wilkens, Jerry Sloan and Bernie Bickerstaff.
That $42 million contract extension he was given by the Pacers in 2002, maybe it wasn’t worth it for the team. Maybe Indiana Pacers President Donnie Walsh, who spent hours in deep conversation with Artest, nurturing and comforting him through difficult times, should have given up on him. Maybe Walsh should have gotten another player, one who wouldn’t snap and erupt into violent outbursts. “They did have a special player, but the player they had wasn’t stable as a pro basketball player,” Metta Saniford-Artest (who changed his name from Metta World Peace in May after marrying Maya Sandiford) told IndyStar Wednesday. “In terms of talent they definitely got it right (with me). But I felt bad, wish it would have been someone else they had gotten so they could have won a title.”
To anyone else, peeking into Sandiford-Artest’s world in 2002, the words were ones NBA dreams are made of. Walsh looked at Sandiford-Artest, who was in his first season with the team, and told him he would do anything to keep him. “I remember Donnie Walsh telling me he wanted to give me the maximum dollar,” he said. “‘What any team wants for you, we are going to match it.'”Exhilaration didn’t follow. Instead, Sandiford-Artest felt disbelief. And then worse. “I actually panicked,” he said. “At that time, I was like, ‘Are you (expletive) kidding me?’ Sometimes, things cause you to self destruct, certain things.”
Scott Agness: Interesting note from Donnie Walsh’s statement on the passing of Jerry Sloan: “He was the first coach I interviewed for our head coaching position with the Pacers but he told me me he had already accepted the position as the head coach for the Jazz” So Walsh hired Jack Ramsay.
Somehow, though Donnie Walsh still isn’t exactly sure how, he’s been plopped in the middle of America’s most famous infectious disease doctor’s basketball claim to fame. “I said, ‘How did that happen?'” Walsh said in a phone interview Wednesday. “This has been one of the most out-of-the-blue things I’ve ever been involved in.” Sixty-two years ago, Anthony Fauci took his high school’s 1-16 team onto Walsh’s court — and won.
Walsh wishes he could recall that game in 1958, what with all the hullabaloo surrounding Fauci now. But he doesn’t. “I don’t remember this game at all. I don’t remember Fauci,” Walsh said. “I’d like to say ‘I remember him and he’s a tough little guy,’ but I just don’t.”