Every week, John Salley, onetime Bad Boy and currently the arachnoid half of the Spider and the Henchman podcast, will regale us with an amusing and occasionally salacious story from his playing days. Today: Kevin Loughery, basketball's Brad Childress.
I'm playing for the Miami Heat. Kevin Loughery and I are not seeing eye to eye. I don't like his coaching skills. I don't think he's a good coach. I don't respect him. Any time I see him now, it's cordial. But I'm just being honest. He wasn't my type of dude. I liked Chuck Daly. Days I didn't feel like playing, he'd go, "Don't let me down," and so I didn't let him down. He told me, "John, you can lose your whole career, and play 20 years, and they'd go, Man, you had a great career. When I retire, they'll judge me only on L's and W's." I busted my ass for him. But if you don't like the motherfucker ... ?
So they finally fire Kevin Loughery, and it's weird. They promote Alvin Gentry, who's his assistant, and it's crazy because the only person who's gone is the head coach. Everybody else is there, and you're constantly looking around the corner for the old coach to come out, because that's who you know as your head coach.
Alvin had to be cool with everybody because he was the buffer with the head coach. Now your buffer is the head coach, but you still talk to him like he's the assistant. It's just a weird feeling. Plus, as soon as the head coach is fired, it really hits you that there's no job security.
So now think about this: Kevin Loughery is gone. That's the only difference. Alvin has not changed the fucking plays — the same plays that were shitty when Loughery was around. The players are the same. And, somehow, we're playing better [Ed. note: The team was 17-29 under Loughery and 15-21 under Gentry]. What is it? It has to be something. Maybe it's that knowing the owner is ready to chop heads, motherfuckers start playing better.