Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Jim Fitzgerald, who owned the Bucks from 1976 to 1985, passed away at the age of 86. Bob Wolfley takes a look back at a memorable moment in Fitzgerald’s tenure (and the heyday of the Don Nelson Era): the Bucks’ 1983 four-game sweep of the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Boston general manager Red Auerbach, who wasn’t a good loser to begin with, did not take kindly to being swept. He pinned his ire on Coach Nelson, saying that he thought Nelson’s critique of Boston guard Danny Ainge was unfair. (For the record, Nelson said, that Ainge, “I don’t like the way he undercuts my players… Innocent little Danny Ainge isn’t so innocent.”) But Auerbach probably also steamed at Fitzgerald’s mockery of Red via a victory cigar, which had long been Red’s signature move/taunt.
After the game, Red vowed revenge. “If it’s the last thing I do, I’ll get back at the Bucks.”
It didn’t take him long. Knowing that Boston coach Bill Fitch has lost the Celtic locker room, he found Nelson after the game and tried to poach his former player, Nelson, to be the next Celtics coach.
But Nellie, who got along famously with Fitzgerald, stayed. And he later followed Fitzgerald out to Golden State, after Herb Kohl had bought the Bucks and Fitzgerald had taken control of his second NBA franchise.
Wisconsin State Journal: The unusually offhand final line of Fitzgerald’s death notice is probably a safe indication of who he would have voted for in the recall election today.
Racine Journal Times: I think this scuttlebutt has been out there for a while, but the Nets have the cap room and the interest to make a serious run at Ersan Ilyasova.
Grantland: Stephen Jackson just won’t go away. Now that he’s the “ultimate teammate” again in San Antonio, Jackson can be portrayed as a hard-knocks, passionate veteran, instead of a coach-killing malcontent.
Unless, of course, he reverts back to the latter with his own words.
To me, he was more of a college coach,” Jackson said of Skiles. “Me, personally, I need a coach that I can respect, that’s proven in this league and doesn’t mind taking advice from his players. When you have a great coach like Gregg Popovich, who asks about our opinion and cares about how we feel and what we think and what goes on off the court and at home, it’s easy to play for those guys because you know they genuinely care. He was a young coach, a coach that really hasn’t proven himself in this league as far as winning, so I saw a lot of things that I didn’t agree with that he was doing and we were losing at the time, so we never could work together.
This space should include a rebuttal to that point-of-view. (Skiles took the high road in his response for the article.) But really, it’s best to just move on and forget Jackson’s unfortunate stint in Milwaukee. Let’s move on.