Rudy Tomjanovich Rumors


Storyline: Jerry Sloan Death
With a newly retired (again) Jordan around, Tomjanovich had the chance to speak frankly about a never-ending debate fueled by Jordan’s decision to retire following the conclusion of his first three-peat with the Chicago Bulls and dabble in baseball. That 17-month absence from the NBA provided the opening for the Rockets to win back-to-back championships in 1994 and 1995, and for Hakeem Olajuwon to emerge as the only one of Jordan’s contemporaries to leave the game with rings on his fingers. Unprompted, Tomjanovich said, Jordan offered some praise for what the Rockets accomplished. “He gave our team great respect,” Tomjanovich said. “He didn’t feel that they could contain Hakeem. They just didn’t have the personnel to do it. And he said he thought we were the team that gave them the most trouble.”
Although he is reluctant to accept the credit, Tomjanovich is responsible for introducing the predecessor to the “pace-and-space” era that is prevalent today by turning small forward Robert Horry into a stretch power forward to complement Hakeem Olajuwon and give him room to operate. Tomjanovich admits that the innovation was created more out of developing a scheme to defend Barkley without double-teaming than some prescient vision. “We thought could give the other teams problems and when we moved Robert Horry,” Tomjanovich said. “Robert did a great job. He started his string of big shots against San Antonio. He made a big one at the buzzer there and he had a tremendous career. When you put a shooting big out there, whoa, they really have to rotate a long way. That’s basically what we saw there. And then, we really used it a lot after the championship runs with the guards, so that we could get penetration and we always looked for shooting. We didn’t have the computerized stuff at that time.”
Tomjanovich struggled physically and mentally as a result of Washington’s right hand but refused to allow himself to be consumed by bitterness, guilt or frustration. He returned to make the All-Star team when he returned the following season and even teamed with Washington for a book with author John Feinstein called, “The Punch.” “We dealt with that,” Tomjanovich said. “I learned a very, very valuable principle that being angry with somebody else does nothing good for the angry person. It’s like drinking poison and expecting somebody else to get the effects. What happens is you get the effects. That made sense to me, so I got rid of that right away. I didn’t think it was something the guy really thought about. Yeah, I wish he didn’t do it but those things happen. And if I wanted to have a good mental health later, I had to let it go and move on with my life. That was good for me to be grateful for the stuff that was coming my way.”

Storyline: Hall of Fame Selections