Most NBA players see it as an honor to represent their country in the FIBA World Cup, especially those from outside the United States. These players usually won’t pass up the opportunity to play for the bragging rights of becoming “real” world champions. But like most players today, the old way of coaching doesn’t get through to this younger generation, no matter where they’re from. Ten-year NBA veteran Dennis Schröder is one of those players who isn’t down with the foolishness of old-school coaching tactics.
That was evident during a FIBA game when Schröder got into an altercation with his coach, Gordie Herbert, on the sideline during a timeout. The incident stemmed from Schröder getting into it with another player on the bench and Herbert stepping in to separate them. Coach and player got into a back and forth where Schröder told Herbert to chill out, leading to him attempting to force Dennis to take a seat. That didn’t go over too well with the NBA player.
“You’re not going to touch me like that,” Schröder exclaimed. “You’re not going to touch me like that.”
Long gone are the days when coaches held all the power, especially in a situation like this. Schröder doesn’t play basketball in his country year-round. When this is over, Schröder returns to the States to collect his fat paycheck from the Toronto Raptors. It’s not that these things don’t happen because they do. Jimmy Butler and Eric Spoelstra of the Miami Heat nearly came to blows on the sideline during a timeout last year. So, it happens, but it only highlights how things have changed in sports.
Those days of yelling and cursing at everything that moved on the court are over and done. It’s not that it wasn’t effective at once, but today, especially in pro sports, that level of disrespect isn’t tolerated. You can’t even get away with that in college anymore in most respects, due to the transfer portal and NIL. So, if that’s a no-no on the collegiate level, there’s no way grown-ass men paying bills just like that coach are going to allow another man to confront them in such a manner. Despite the heated exchange, both parties downplayed it following the game.
“I mean, basketball is an emotional sport,” Schroder explained. “It’s a game of runs, and you gotta stay cool. Me and Daniel go way back, I have known him since I was 12 or 13. We had those kinds of moments when we were young as well, but it always helped us to elevate our game.”
“I just think Daniel and Dennis were talking about their young days in Braunschweig,” Herbert said jokingly.
While it seems the parties involved have moved past that moment of contention, players are no longer sitting back and taking whatever treatment coaches decide to dish out. Legendary Indiana University head basketball coach Bog Knight was infamous for his blowups and outright belittling (and allegedly assaulting) his players during the 1970s and 80s. He would never be able to carry himself the same way today. The era of coaches ruling with an iron fist is done. Player empowerment isn’t just an NBA slogan. That can be said for basketball in general. Whether we agree with it or not, coaches are simply along for the ride now, in many instances.