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Pure Talk. USA Dotcom Promo Code Adam podcast. From Kerlan Studios in Glendale, California, this is the Adam Carolla Show, Adam's guest today, NBA and WNBA championship coach Paul Westhead and Australian musician and comedian Tim Minchin with Genographic on News Ball. Bryan, on sound effects. And now he's not in traffic. He is traffic. Adam Corolla, yeah, get it on. Got to get it on a choice, but to get it on mandate, get it on.
Thanks for tuning in. Thanks for telling a friend. We love that about you. Right, Genographic. That's right hand, Beaubrun.
That is incredible. Paul Westhead legendary player was on on the Lakers the first year. Magic Johnson, Magic Johnson's rookie season coach.
The Lakers, right. Oh, but he wasn't who I thought you said he's playing with you, Coach.
Oh, he was coach. Coach of the first championship. Oh, with magic. Well, there you go. Legendary coach, man. He yeah. He's got a lot going on.
I didn't. Oh I just look down. He's eighty one years old. I did. I thought Paul West that in my head was oh 68 or something. So I was doing the player math but I didn't know he was in his 80s.
Was there any chance you're confusing with Paul Westfall, also a head coach and player in the NBA? No way I could ever confuse Paul Westhead and Paul Westfall. Come on. No, no.
I feel bad for mentioning it, Chris coming out.
But yes, that's probably what I'm doing. I also I don't know, whenever I hear Paul Westhead, I always want I'm always curious if he's met porn star Peter North. As far as he's sixty nine.
Yeah. Yes. There you go. There just just a tag team of Westhead and Peter North heading out on the town. I just feel like that's that. Ladies, look out.
Oh, I said this is all his own blocking. I got to be facing west. We got your compass covered, ladies. All right. So Paul will be in the show.
Tim mentioned will be in as well. Comedian and music teacher and musician and all that. All right. Let's see. We've got a mash up. I have a I have a nice story from last night. I was doing last minute call that going into Tucker Carlson. And they drove the van to my house, the sprinter van with the setup and everything and set up in the driveway and all that kind of stuff, by the way, ended up in the pantheon of of things.
Just just tell me how this would have worked when you were fourteen. My son loves Tucker Carlson. And I said to him, you know, I'm doing a hit like five thirty. It was like four thirty. I said, the Tucker Carlson minivan is in our driveway. Would you like to poke your head in it and just see what it looked like, the shape behind what's on the screen, how it works, where I sit, the lay of the land.
And he went, I'm good. Anyway, he went into his room. I know son out a little.
Jim Corolla. No pulse, no excitement. Jim Corolla. That said even something he's purportedly into. He should you should want to know a little more about it.
Well, his pleasant pleasure centers have been destroyed. It's true. That's number one. Number two, he knows Tucker's not in the van because that's about as far as he got with it. But surprise. Yes, I could you imagine a a fourteen year old version of you doing that with anything?
No, you don't even have to be into it. If you said in our driveway right now there's a van that is an entire TV studio, that would blow my mind.
Well, when I was 14, I had the opportunity to go to the the Warriors facility, part of a school project, and they got to see practice. And I was like, oh, I got the locker room. I got the press box. Like, I want to see the inner workings of all this cool stuff that we got to see part of on TV. Right. Like like a fractional.
Well, it's kind of a now it's another topic, but curiosity, which I'm always telling everyone about how important that is, what are we doing to curiosity in general when we're bringing the mountain to Mohammed? You know what I mean? Just dial up the food, dial up the entertainment dial up. We go to a TV studio without TV, go to Amazon, go click on the picture of the thing you want. Just show up at your door where where's the cure?
So what happens to curiosity in that in that scenario when you just keep dialing stuff up and it just keeps showing up at your door, where's the curiosity kick in?
It's not so much more curiosity, but for the instant gratification, which is really we're talking about, you get to humans on it comes the next day. The food comes within twenty minutes. Whatever it is, there's no there's not no. But anticipation has been lessened a lot, if you like, in our society. I remember when I was twelve thirteen, I did this thing where you used to if you were really big, like a baseball fan, you would send the card in an envelope with a self-addressed stamped on love to like the team and like the teams.
Mailing address, and if you were lucky, three and a half months later, your favorite player would send an autographed baseball card and I would like wait by the mailbox every day because I sent these things out in May and here it was like August. I'm like, oh, we're going to get his autograph soon. I got a few know a handful. But that was the the anticipation wasn't. Oh yeah. Obviously it was months later. I'm like, oh, I know it's coming.
Well, delayed gratification, to be sure, is dead in a ditch by the side of the road. But now I'm worried about curiosity because I think they both sort of with one goes the other, like you just kids just don't need to be that curious anymore stuff. It's just there. By the way, there's more entertainment and Sonny's room than there is in the sprinter van in the driveway of my house. That's true.
So and to combine those thoughts, if it takes too long to find out the answer, you're no longer curious. Yeah. You lose interest.
Right. So for me, what was in my room growing up was there was no competition. I had I didn't have an oscillating fan in my room to entertain me. There was no TV. There was no anything. So everything outside of my room became interesting and curious. Anyway, a nice story, which is last minute I did Tucker and I was sitting eating dinner about seven thirty at night, and Olga got a text from her daughter that a client of hers, she's a hairstylist, just saw me on Tucker and was laughing her ass off.
And she needed this laugh because she found out in July that her daughter of 11 years, 11 year old daughter has terminal brain cancer. Oh, Jesus. And she's a physician. So she's a physician.
She knows her too much. I do. I always hope I have that kind of stuff happens. I always hope for the like, uneducated, super religious, like Guatemalan grandmother who's sitting there rubbing rosaries and talking like she doesn't know what's going on. Exactly. She's a physician. She knows what's going on. They found out on her fiftieth birthday that her daughter had this terminal brain cancer. And so she story she wrote me. So she said, thank you.
I haven't laughed in months. And that really made me laugh. And I thought, oh, God, that's nice. And then I thought, yeah, I, I and I should send her a book or something.
So I went and found a little funny. I was like Hella so yeah. Picked up so I went and signed a book or whatever. And then I said to Olga, I said, hey, why don't you let me talk to her, get you know, get Paola a daughter. I said she can get her number. I said, OK, so I get the number. Evidently Paola didn't tell her I was going to call, which probably would help, so I called.
Well, now she couldn't have told her. I called asking me if I don't think Pallette Relais that she just went here's her phone number. I don't know. It's kind of old school. I guess nowadays you do it a different way. But she said here's her phone number. I said, OK. And I called and nobody picked up. And then I called again and nobody picked up and I was kind of wondering, like, is it the unknown number thing that the person is getting mean you very likely.
Meanwhile, she's 50 again, found out on her fiftieth birthday in July. Daughter, I don't know, not a lot of time to live, 11 years old physician. And then she's having to do all that with this all this covid business going on, all these protocols and everything. So. The third time I call her and she picks up, but she does the suspicious answer, hello, you know, like weird voice.
Oh yeah. You know, yeah, I don't know this voice. And I said, hey, it's Adam Corolla. And she was just fucking had at the time of her life. And we had a long conversation and we just, you know, talked about everything. And I thought and she she has all my books, she reads all the books she loves, all the books she tells other people that she works with and blah, blah, blah.
But I thought, you know, I don't know why this is the it's the most gratifying part about being a public figure.
And it's really the easiest.
A lot of this stuff is a pain in the ass or like you got to go down to Norwalk and stand in front of the B Daltons for two hours and sign in. That's a pain in the ass. This is easy. It's really easy. I was on the phone with them for about 20 minutes. I probably got more out of it than she did for sure. And, well, I can't say for sure, but I mean, she's like I read every one of your books and I would.
I would. Oh, OK. Palestinian attacks, but only after she talked to me. OK, so she sent her text. Adam's going to call any time she'd be great co-pilot. Well, I was going to put the landing gear up. I was going to put the landing gear down, but I was going to do it after we landed. It's going to wait till we got on the ground.
No, I meant to talk to you. Oh, Tom. She said she sent her friend 10 to 15 minutes. Oh, 15 minutes later.
I must have just called her immediately. Then that's what happened. I just I just called her.
So anyway, she does a hell of a head of hair. You're looking at you guys. Yeah, she's great. So I got she you know, she said I get your books and I read two pages a night just to save it for the next day. I don't want to read it all the way through it. All right. That's right. And and then I kind of told her, well, you want to know how the whole thing works?
Like, how does it work? Like, how do you know when you're going to go on or what subjects you're going to talk about or how it physically works, where you go or you make up or you have the earpiece with a delay or you can't see Tucker, you can only hear him because he's on a if you saw on the delay would screw up. Anyway, we had a lovely conversation and it is everyone look again, the part of life where people want you to give generously and you've got to get out your checkbook or drive over there and do that or, you know, spend all day at the soup kitchen.
God love you. But a lot of this a lot of this kind of stuff, you don't have to be a celebrity. A lot of these kinds of things are kind of free. They're pretty easy. There's not much there's not much behind them. There's not much to think about.
And also get paid emotional dividends, like you said.
Sorry to interrupt you, but it's emotionally gratifying, you know, being able to talk to somebody or make their day or give a little bit of hope or a smile or whatever, it's good to get along well.
And that's that's the thing. I mean, if you could ask this woman, what would you want more than anything? I think twenty minutes to not be in complete depression and terror would be right up there. And that's what you gave her?
Well, I'm a hero and we wish I had a phone. We wish Brandy and her daughter well. Hey, man. All right.
Let's see the ones have right down here. All right.
Let's say we have a Dorson mash up, so says Dorson. Yeah, you remember the ah, the reporter in Anchorage, Alaska, who's a great athlete, who loves herself almost as much as she hates the mayor.
Yeah, well, I figured it was worth listening to her again, but against the against the light rock of Bertie Higgins and Maria supported TCW.
Who's that national icon? I took more to my Emmy Award winning journalism. You are also a pedophile who like little girls and children. And there's a website I'm so fucking exposing you, I'm going to get an Emmy wrapped around each other.
Do you either burn yourself in, try so hard to kill yourself for school and to to give you what you need to do learning each other's? I will personally kill you and Mark Hamill.
My goddamn salvation goes.
Falling in love with you, we keep living fucking. Yes, I'm sure you have met your Mac mother fucker.
You were my leading lady. I'm going to get an Emmy. But we have you have met your motherfucking match. It's like, oh, I can't believe I'm am. That person started out lately. I thought, I love you. See of the weed killer. I fucking hate. I don't even hate you. I will pray for your. This is all things we talk about you, Patrushev Luther, should you kill yourself just like they did? I'm putting this on the news tonight.
I have a great Friday, you mother fucker.
Going to get to the last drop for me. And it's a great mash up there. Does. And you hit out of the ballpark. All right. Let's see what we got. All right. Let me hit Geico here. Yeah. Geico, man, it's it's fall.
Yeah. It's actually starting to feel a little like fall out there and that means it's Geico weather out there, taking the scenic drives, hitting the road, finally not baking out the hot sun. And one of my favorite stories was we haven't told in a million years was going to Lime Rock. So I was thinking about this. And the reason I'm thinking about this is because I got Paul Newman's car. I got his got a Ford Escort, a Ford Escort that Paul Newman drove in 1973 at at Lime Rock and.
Well well, I took a look. There's some footage on the Internet and I'll I'll show you the car going around, going around the track. But it was Newman Lime Rock, nineteen seventy seventy three. And there's old footage of him driving this car around the track and in lime rock and getting out of the car. And actually another driver was driving it and then Paul's car broke. And for the for the race, Tom Jaconi I think was driving it.
And then Paul Paul's car broke and so that Tom Jaconi went, you want to drive my car? And Paul said, Yeah, can I get in your car? So this guy and Paul walked over to Tom's car. This this escort, this latest car I got in the in the Newman collection, and he climbed into the escort and then drove the escort around. Lime Rock. Lime Rock was Paul's home track. It's a very small, tight little little track and it's a very small little car.
It's a small little car and a small little track.
And it's tucked up into it. And I guess it's in the in Connecticut, I think.
But anyway, do you have the actual car, Max Padam? So this is a car that's it's been floating around for a while. All the older gentleman, had it been wanting to sell it to me for a long time and he wasn't done using it and now he has a mixed bag. I remember going to connect those two.
I mean, we had we had a last minute, I think Kailin home some I'm getting all the all this. Oh, OK. He went home last second, see.
OK, he's alright. He was just he's just got a little worried.
So I just wanted to find. He was worried about going a little anxious that he wasn't he was really tired today, like unusually more tired than he than he normally is.
He was more tired than he normally. Yeah, like, I kind of freaked him out.
So I just I just don't go home, OK. Well, time to hang out until the first part of the show starting next time. All right. Anyway, I was trying to connect these these ideas, but the cars now you can get a better shot. The car, the car's just sitting in the shop now, and that's this guy, the first one. And that's there. You got that. There it is. The old car is is there.
I have it. And Newman was driving around Lime Rock and that thing. And it reminded me of when me and who went me August night when we're doing the Newman dock. Yep.
You've just named it, although I believe Nate went up a little early with a career. So it was just. You mean August in the car?
We had to go to Lime Rock to film a couple of drivers when we're doing the Newman dock. And we also went to Bob Sharp's house. It was New Newman's team owner who was also in the neighborhood. And that day, what was that day like for you?
It was definitely one of the craziest days of my life, a much shorter back story.
My friends had pranked me all right. In the trip to New York. So I did not bring the right shoes with me, right?
Yes. Yes. It's a very long story, but I just really didn't think this through. And I'm wearing dress shoes on this this hot track trying to help set up the film crew. But prior to that, when we were driving through the winding back roads of Connecticut trying to get to Bob Sharp's house, Mike August was, of course, the driver. And if I'm not mistaken, we were also in the early stages of you working on President Me, one of your books in the back seat, reading the book out loud, which I can't even do on a straight road, let alone a winding road.
And when we got to Bob Sharp's house, I have never been sicker in my entire life.
We started off I started off that morning doing Howard Stern at like 6:00 a.m. a hell of a day.
So I started off. We start off in New York. I did. Stern, did you come with me to did.
Yeah. That I honestly, I think I blacked out. I don't even remember that part of the day.
We started with Stern like 6:00 a.m. then we jumped into a rental car. Then we drove back roads to Connecticut and to Bob Sharp's house and Bob Sharp's house like up a steep driveway. And he's got a bunch of stairs that go up and Matt's got his Florsheim on and Aaron Nate's down and grab the C stand and the battery box and go up to the top where like we're filming at the very top or Bob's office. Was Matt sweating profusely, by the way?
I think we stopped at Lime Rock first. We stopped that line rock first. We filmed as fast as we could for an hour and a half, and we jump back and now we're on the clock. We hustled the sharps. And by the way, we were leaving from Kennedy that that evening. And we had that. Matt, I. I know one. I don't know. Mike didn't really seem to be empathic as to the pain. You're going mad.
Matt was Matt was sweating profusely and I would say he was laboring, slipping and sliding in those buckets, like trying to go up the stairs. And Nate and Nate and Mike are all like Jim coach from junior high. And it's like a step it up. Let's go grab the power. They have no idea. I could see his face just sweat pouring, beet red feet sliding around the steps. And did we end up making it out in New York that night?
Well, we did barely because it was supposed to be let's just say it was a 90 minute drive and we had approximately eighty nine minutes, you know, with which to accomplish that.
And a gigantic truck had tried to get under a bridge. Oh. And we actually got large went to the bridge. Wow. I mean, you can imagine this. So it's like we're like, look, we go from New York, we drive from Manhattan, from Howard Stern's place. We go from Manhattan, we go to Connecticut, we go to Lime Rock. We'll be there by by noon. We'll shoot from noon to two there. Then we pack it in and we hustle to Bob Sharp's house and then we'll get there at three.
And then we got from three to five to shoot there. We have an eight o'clock flight at a Kennedy, but we can make it ninety five minutes through the background. And Mike driving like a maniac and Matt's green. And there's one road from one highway from Connecticut that goes through.
And of all things, a fucking truck literally wedges itself under the overpass and we're just stopped and everyone's just staring at the clock like this is the world's longest day and.
We ain't getting on that plane, so then we get to this scenario, which you recently experienced, I believe, in Salt Lake where somebody has to return the rental car. That's right. And so, of course, I'm going to be the one to do that. I dropped you guys that was in Oakland, but. Right, right. Sorry. So you guys got to go into your, you know, the VIP lounge at the airport. And I'm still sliding around in my dress shoes all over the airport.
And my one great moment, though, was that I did also get in to that VIP club at the airport without having paid for it, because I was wearing an Adam Carolla T-shirt and I think he saw the green in my face and he just was nice enough to let me in and dress shoes.
I was dressed like belonged.
And that was that was a fucking 17 hour day anyway. Eventually we got on that. We all did. Somehow I sort of remember that as being one of those flights where it was delayed. And every once in a while you get that passenger who does the after delayed, you know, another 20 minutes they got that something where that passenger goes like, this is bullshit. Like no more something like let's let's rally. And it's like storm the cars and do what there's a mechanical thing or something is going on.
I don't know why. What would you like me to rage against. Which machine would you like us all.
You know, it's like remember that guy, I will never forget that guy.
It really was like a who's with me. Who's with. Yeah. Let's take a Greyhound bus and a scant seventy seven hours we'll be back in Burbank. It's like, yeah, we're going to the flights, it's going to be like another forty five minutes and then we're going to land at LAX or we could. Yeah. Storm the castle with you. All right. Thank you for that. And visit the Geico dotcom today. Switch your insurance and make it easy.
Fifteen minutes say 15 percent or more at Geico dot com. All right, let's see. We got Paul Paul's on the.
All right. Yes. Oh, yes.
No, we don't already go ahead. But I pulled a clip of the famous Hank Gathers incident. Paul was the coach at the time. I don't know that he wants to know how much. Let's talk about it and be good to play it. We could discuss it briefly if we have time, but it has nothing, of course, in the dark.
Yeah, let's do that. Now, what? Well, you're saying is on hold, but you're also saying at one thirty five. So which one you want to go. Oh sorry.
I just put that on the top. I think he's on hold. The name on the zom account is just guest so I assume this is him but usually they put their name.
Oh OK. Well why don't we. Yeah let's talk about that Hank gathers thing first. Go ahead, set the table.
OK, this is totally off memory because I was looking at I was looking up today. I was like, oh, he was coach of Alemu Loyola Marymount out here, college coach autres with the Lakers in nineteen, not in the late eighties until 1990. And that was a very good Alemu team in nineteen ninety. There are two really marquee players, Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble. Hank Gathers. I saw the thirty four thirty on this team, on Paul Westhead and this team very fast now.
I was a young, I was twelve years old at the time, so I was really into, you know, this whole phenomenon. There are really good and there they're a powerhouse right there on Taro's. It wasn't like, oh you're North Carolina good agat duke good again. Alemu, you kind of came out of nowhere with these two real marquee players. Long story short, on heck, others had some sort of heart problem, like he was like a defective, you know, some sort of something going on.
They put him on some medication. He didn't like how the medication made him feel and players thought he was sluggish, those lethargic. So I believe he went off the medication. Again, this is from memory. So correct me if I'm wrong. And at that point, I'm playing a basketball game during a college game, Division one college game, he collapsed on the floor and died on the court.
Oh, God, yeah. It's there's footage which I called if Chris has time to play it. But it's it's a terrible day.
I have literally died in the middle of a game, skip out a little bit. And he had just made a spectacular Altuve dunk and it just fell over and he just he just died on the floor.
Oh my God. And he's seizing.
And he was he was a spectacular. After you've been he would have been a first round pick for sure. You think he's up to eight or six? Ten is Brexit us.
He sits back up and just proclaims, I don't want to lie down and then ends up lying down again and eventually dies.
And if I remember well, then his his teammate is the one who shot the basket with his eyes closed. Yeah, right.
Well, he shot at the left handed and left handed in tribute to Hank Gathers and got him.
And they want to say this is shocking, been to a movie because they ended up going on an unbelievable run in the end. And the tournament in the in the the part about.
Just tournaments, they made it all the way to the round of eight or something and lost to eventual national champion and but they upset defending champions Michigan, like there was a really heartfelt, spectacular run for a great team.
Well, we will Paul's on hold so we can talk to him about that, as well as many other things in the NBA. Take a quick break. We'll be back with Paul Westhead right after this. And now Al Gore presents definitely not a. Dateline, Bristol, Tennessee. A 76 year old man lost one of his legs after his. The sun hit him with the lawn mower because the 76 year old man was attacking. When Jason. Definitely not up to.
Paul Westhead is on the line. The speed game, my fast times in basketball, it's available November 1st. You can preorder it now on Amazon, if you would, please. Good to see you, Paul.
Thanks. I appreciate it. Congratulations on an incredibly diverse career. I mean, NBA championship, I am sorry, WNBA championship, NBA championship as an a player in the NBA. I mean, let's let's unpack that and then we'll we'll get into many, many other things.
So for you, where do you where do you grow up? Where do you hail from?
Well, I was born and raised in Philadelphia. And homophily guy that that could be, is that your phone ringing, that is my phone ringing.
That's all right. Which Kaptchuk Mitch Mitch Kupchak famously and I don't know, Jack, just.
Well, I don't know if you guys know or Paul. I'm curious what you know. But Mitch, I have a very vivid memory of Mitch Kupchak in the lock. I guess he was a forward for the Lakers in the 70s.
Yeah. Yeah. I was the one who brought him there.
Mitch Cup check in the locker room after the Lakers game while somebody was being interviewed in front of the camera behind the camera, Mitch stood up on the bench because I guess he didn't want the athlete's foot or something and proceeded to drop his jock and his his shorts. I remember that very clearly when I was nine years old. Is that possible?
Well, that doesn't sound like Miss Cupcake, but because he he really was a straightforward up good guy. So he probably didn't realize that there were people or cameras. Are young boys in there.
I didn't know. That's the whole thing. I, I he thought he was off of the camera. I don't I don't think he did it. I don't think he cupcake checked his cup intentionally for the camera. I understood it is he thought he was off camera.
So that was Kurt Rambis. That sounds like.
So you grew up in Philadelphia.
He grew up in Philadelphia. Yeah, I'm you know, I was born and raised in Philly and I went to high school there, I played at St. Joseph's University for Jack Ramsey in my college basketball career. I wasn't a star. My my grade point average was better than my points per game average.
So but that's because I was a good student. So I had a three point four. Great point.
So then what led you into coaching from that? Well, I always wanted to be a teacher, so I was involved, you know, I did Teacher Ed and I was qualified and certified to be a high school teacher, and I had an interest in basketball. And my first opportunity came up to be a teacher and a coach, and it didn't work. And I remember I asked Jack Ramsey to call and make a recommendation for me, and he said he said, Paul, I'm going to call for you.
He said, But you're really not a coach. He said, you're a teacher, but I'll make the call. And, you know, the irony of that is that years later, I coached against Jack Ramsey in the NBA and, you know, we became lifelong friends. But I think he saw me more as somebody that was better in the classroom than on the basketball court because he saw me as a player.
Well, when did you start thinking about the uptempo game? I mean, that's kind of I guess you'd be the the grandfather or the father of the quick possession, high octane. Don't follow your shot kind of up tempo game. Is that something that you conceived when you were playing or were watching how that worked?
Yeah, well, certainly not when I was playing, because if you played for Jack Ramsey, he was a proponent of doing everything right and on time and exact. And we played sometimes a little fast, but not the speed that I did. So I got it a couple of ways. One, I spent the 70s coaching in the summer in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and in the Puerto Rican League. The quick shot was routine. You know, there was no set up the offense and run the flex or something.
So I fell into a style of play in a league that I was interested in already. So I became a fast break person. Then I came back to my La Salle college teams and tried to run with them. I ran into a coach from Old Dominion University, Sonny Allen, who was a fast break guy, gave me some of his scheme. He did say to me, Paul, if you're going to follow my scheme, you're going to have to be a little crazy.
I said, well, I can do that.
And everything evolved from there. I mean, once I once once you get bit by the fast game, the speed game is hard to go back. Yeah, basketball becomes boring if you don't run fast.
Is there any there's no team that doesn't work the speed game in the NBA. No college, major college. Everyone does it. Our high school does it now. So it's ubiquitous. Does it. Here's an interesting question. Obviously, when you have great players that can move it up and down, an amazing specimens, you're Magic Johnson sorry, LeBron James or something. It's great. But does it benefit the game with the greatest athlete or would it benefit a shorter, slower team?
Even more? Because I could make an argument for why those guys wouldn't want to set up and post up and play a slow game.
Well, it's kind of interesting. At the end of the day, Adam, and the running game done the way I coached, namely if we had the one hundred offensive possessions we ran one hundred times is that is not a good thing for players in general. They don't want to do that. It's too hard. They don't want to work that hard every time. So when you get great players, you know, like Magic and Kareem or, you know, the Michael Jordan's of my day, they don't want to play real fast because they're saying, why do I want to go fast when I can take my time and score anyway?
So what's the point of this? So your second notion, I think, is is sound lesser players, slower players, less talented players should want to play fast because it could give them an advantage. And yes, I coached some teams that that was what my selling point was. If we ran the break and shot in four and five seconds all the time, we would wear down better, more talented, bigger teams. But even then, they have to buy in, because if you don't, the fast break fails.
Is it easier to coach man or coach women? And tell me the talent level and I'll give you an answer, I mean, because it really comes down to that. But in general, it's easy to coach women because they follow your direction. Almost exactly. When I coached in the WNBA in the Phoenix Mercury, we acquired a point guard. Her name was Kelly Miller. She was from the University of Georgia. She played for Andy Landers. And she was she was a very good player.
I said, Kelly, I want you to run the ball. You're going to be my point guard. I want you to run the ball as fast as you can. Every possession. She said, OK, I can do that. And for two years, in every practice and every drill and every game, she went breakneck speed down the court with the ball. I mean, it's hard to get men to follow that direction and never wavered. They always want to trying to figure something out.
She said, you want me to do that? I can do that. And she's single and I think she is single.
I want some lasagna lickety split. You understand?
She take care of that? Yeah.
Yeah. I mean, I also it must be difficult for the elite players to train. I mean, you've got to you've got to run practice hard. Right. I mean, you've got to run up and down the court back and forth. I mean, you're asking multimillion dollar guys to do these jingle jangles all all day. Is that difficult?
That is very difficult. And you're spot on there. They they want to play. They want to win. They want to get a better contract, you know, if their contract is up in a year or two. But they really deep down don't want to run extra fast and you don't want to run extra fast all the time now.
Yeah, it's it's a hard sell and that's why and it's in my book. That's why I had twenty jobs and I got fired in 14 of them.
In general, it's hard to get really tall people to do what you want anyway. Like you ever walk up to a guy six, nine and go, hey, pick that up, it's going to fuck you. Like it's hard to get tall guys to do your bidding. No. One. No. Two, rich and tall, like millionaire and tall. That's strike two. And yes, you're so right. I was just sort of putting myself back and Pop Warner football and high school football days.
There is such a difference between jogging up and down or kind of doing a lap at the park or lap. You know, you'd get into football practice, like doing warm up lap. I would do a warm up lap. You know, at the end we're going to run some laps, the wind sprint thing, like like when you're going hard, it takes it out of you fast. It's like it's like you have a battery in you and that battery will last for two hours, but you can run it dry in five minutes if you just if you just punch it.
And that's what that is. Yes.
Brian, remember the I'm sure is now not allowed, but the Indian run where the whole group had run, the last guy had to go to the front, then the last guy had to get the front. But you'd be running the entire time.
Tortuous. And why I didn't quite do that, but we did our practices were not stand around half court talking about how to run, pick and roll our practices where transition. So everything was offense, defense, offense, defense, offense, defense. I will say that I did have an experience with Kareem that I learned from him. We started the season training. We were in Palm Springs, California, and I had a two hour practice, first practice and, you know, was doing fast break and guys worked hard and pretty tired.
And at the end of practice, as a lot of high school college coaches do, I ran what they call murder or suicide or lines. They they go back and forth, up and down the court, maybe 10 times. So I had them do it once. And then we finished and the team walked to the right to get to the locker room. I walked to the left and Kareem came over, left with me, put his arm around me and said, Paul, I don't do murder.
And and then he walked away. There was no more conversation. And it is very understanding. He never called me coach. He only called me by my first name. I think he only called John Wooden Coach.
So, yeah, we had a practice that night.
That's when they did two days. And we went back and I scratched out the murder suicide for the night practice and I never did it again.
Is that the him calling you Paul but calling wouldn't coach? Is that sort of equivalent to calling your step dad dad, but your sister calls him Bert? You know, she doesn't like him.
That's that's a good comparison. I should have had you with me as my assistant. Maybe they lasted longer. Some of these jokes.
I can handle that. Abdul Jabbar. Well, do a guy like I've interviewed a number of times. Oh, yeah. There's a picture of me interviewing Kareem on the show. Yeah, I said so.
Here's so here's kind of the here's the question. Would you rather have a heady, thoughtful, kind of contemplative philosopher type like him? Well, now that guy is not going to you know, you can't tell him, go, go dive through that wall for me, it's not going to do it. But he is is thoughtful or someone who is less sort of sort of, I don't know, thoughtful, less less up in their head. A more visceral I don't know, like was a guy like Magic Johnson, like more visceral and Kareem was more thoughtful or in which would you rather coach?
Well, Kareem, it was a very thoughtful guy and we would occasionally talk, you know, Shakespeare sonnets and novels and and Robert Frost poetry. But he and he didn't want to talk too much about basketball, and he surely didn't want you to tell him what to do. You see them this professional coaches and I learned the hard way. You don't want to walk in until twelve NBA players. This is what we're going to do. And I know what I'm saying.
They want to kind of go at their own pace and figure things out themselves. So Kareem was easy to coach because he'd go out and get you twenty two points and fourteen rebounds. So yeah, I'll take that kind of thoughtful guy any day.
Who were some of the players on the team on the Lakers back then since I sort of remember all those guys.
Well, obviously, Magic Johnson. Norm Nixon. Yeah. Jamaal Wilkes. Who was another UCLA Bruin. Yeah.
Michael Cooper. Oh Coop. Yeah, Mitch Kupchak Cooper.
Was Cooper famously was he the one who was a virgin until he got married or am I thinking of another like I green. Oh ac green dammit.
I'm worthy. Wasn't around was, were they back then.
Now where he came after me but worthy. He was around. Yeah. And I didn't have ac green either. He came two years after me.
Well he came ten minutes after we got married. Go ahead.
I have a related question for the coach coached you coached Chris Jackson in Denver who later went on to change his name to Mahmood Abdul Rauf. And he was very famous out of you. Remember, he was one of the first players ever professionally to sit down during the national anthem in front of a lot of controversy. Obviously, Colin Kaepernick kind of, you know, became the the the face of that movement. And I'm curious if you ever talk to Chris Jackson or Mahmud about that.
Did you ever have conversation? And it was after your time and I wonder if you ever talk to him.
Yeah, no, we never had that conversation, but I we drafted him when I was in Denver. He was a rookie when I when I arrived, I was there two years with him. And then some of the issues in not standing up for the anthem, etc. came after I left. So after I was dismissed, all all of that took place. He was a very interesting young man. He was very talented. As you know, he had Tourette's and that kind of affected him because sometimes the medication didn't work.
And so he had a he had to fight that. But, boy, he was a skilled guy. He just wanted the ball in his hand and leave him alone. He struggled early in his rookie year. So I met with him once. I said, Chris, I'm going to try and help you. I'm going to run some high pick and rolls around half court for you. And he said, no, no, no, no, no, coach, just give me the ball and let everybody get out of my way.
He said, I play best when when I can just do my own thing.
Well, but he was a nice young man.
And I think what happened to him, he was kind of ahead of his times. It was kind of unfortunate.
Yeah, that was years ago. Speaking of great players and medications, we're talking about Hank Gathers right before you you came up your coaching that game. Do you have recollections of Hank and that that game and that that that time period and well, was thirty years ago.
And my recollection is like it was three minutes ago. Three minutes ago, yeah, crystal clear in my mind, we're playing Portland University for in the NCAA qualifiers and Hank makes a thundering slam dunk on offense and turns around and running back to play defense and collapses around half court and never to get up again and changed my life and the life of our team. And I think everyone at LSU for a long, long time, it was it was the hardest thing that ever happened to me in my life, let alone as a coach.
What kind of guy was Hank Gathers? Oh, he was wild and crazy and vivacious and outgoing. And yet he he he'd be doing your show right now.
That's what he ultimately wanted to be.
He wanted to be a radio TV announcer, and he always would grab a microphone if there was one on a bus and he'd start making fun of everybody.
He was tough, aggressive, but lovable.
Here, I'll give you a story to show you what he was really like. After games at home, my 12 year old daughter would come and stand outside the locker room with me and the players would come out.
She had a crush on our shooting guard Jeff Frier, kind of a blond surfer boy from Corona del Mar, California. So she's standing there with me waiting for frier and outcomes. Hank. And he walks over to my daughter, Julie, says Julie. Who's your favorite player? And she says, you are right. And and that's what he was. He he he made you like him. And there were a lot of reasons to like him.
So for him to die so suddenly was like the life just poured out of us.
He certainly would have had a great NBA career. I mean, yeah, I think he would have been like a 10, 12 year veteran, I don't think he'd have been an all star, but he'd have been 12 points, 12 rebounds every game, you know, and help you win. And as you perhaps remember, in his junior year, he did lead the country in scoring and rebounding, which I think was only been done about five times in the history of college basketball.
Were you and the teammates, the team essentially, were you aware that he had passed literally out on the on the court or where you see him taken away in an ambulance and could think, well, I hope he's going to be OK?
Well, he did go in an ambulance and he was whisked him away to a local spot in Marina Del Rey, California. The team went into the locker room. I went to the hospital. Obviously, when I got there, they had pronounced him dead and I I saw him in the in on the gurney, et cetera, and this is well before cell phones and everything. So I was the one who had to come back and deliver that news to the team waiting in the locker room.
Brian, you had a question, though. Obviously, this is during the conference tournament, you have the national tournament coming up just on the swimming days later, you guys won on a magical run, captured the nation. It was so heartwarming. Talk about that a little about how it felt, how the team felt, that kind of stuff.
Yeah, well, we had we all flew back to Philadelphia for the funeral services.
That is the church in North Philadelphia. It had a service at Alemu for the student body. And then the players said, hey, we want to play.
And and I think they wanted to play because they were so caught up in the grief of Hank's passing that playing basketball was relief for them. It was a chance to do something other than their grief.
And if they played only to honor had played, they played so well.
I mean, inspired.
We won three games, the Michigan game. I mean, we're playing the returning national champions and we win one hundred and forty nine to one hundred and sixteen. Wow.
And that's a thirty five second shot clock to right. Yeah. And and it's gracious and it was like almost easy for them and and they were doing it for Hank but they weren't trying to just win, they were just trying to play.
And because they were just playing it became easy that I mean, Hank Gathers would be 50 years old today. Right.
Right about there. Yeah. Wow.
Yeah. For so long, it feels like it was yesterday, but also feels like a million years ago as well. The book, The Speed Game, My Fast Times in Basketball, it's available, like I said, November 1st. But you can preorder it now on Amazon. Coach, it's been a fascinating discussion.
Yeah. Thank you. It's always good to reminisce. And, you know, whenever I think of my experience at LSU, it was the best of times and the worst of times. Yeah. Charles Dickens.
Yeah. It really captured the nation that run. You guys went on after after Hank passed. It was it was incredible time. I haven't thought about it in a million years, but here we are. Thanks, Coach Paul Westhead.
My pleasure. Thank you, guys. Appreciate it. All right.
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