David Blatt may be best known as the NBA coach that got a raw deal in Cleveland, but regardless he’s one of the most accomplished coaches in the pro game. Blatt spoke to the 2016 adidas Eurocamp participants and delivered a strong message about a winning approach to the game. In this Ballislife interview, he expands on that concept to talk about the American-European dynamic in terms of success both on and off the court. NBA player Joakim Noah also delivered a strong message to high school and players about the mentality it takes to be a pro.
Related adidas Eurocamp coverage: Quick Lesson for US Select Team | US Select Team Scouting Report | Getting To Know Lindell Wigginton | Getting To Know Brandon Huffman
David Blatt’s short tenure as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers was scrutinized as much as any rookie coach in NBA history. He made it to that level after a successful stint in Europe. He’s actually one of the most successful American coaches in European history. After playing for legendary coach Pete Carril at Princeton University, Blatt eventually developed into a four-time Isreali coach of the year and led the Russian National team to a Bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics in London.
Blatt told the campers after he was fired he received tons of phone calls from other NBA coaches, more than anyone else, giving him positive words of encouragement. The reason? He attempts to take a winning approach with everything he does.
“Make the game your home,” Blatt said. “Money does not lead, it follows.”
Blatt stressed a few specific traits of a winner.
1) Look someone in the eye 2) Be on time 3) Be respectful 4) Be a great teammate 5) Be a friend
Check out the video as Blatt gets into more specifics of how American-born players can benefit from the International experience and vice versa.
NBA player Joakim Noah Chimes In
The players at adidas Eurocamp want to get where Joakim Noah has been. He played at the legendary ABCD Camp and played in the 2004 Roundball Classic. He helped Florida win two NCAA championships, was the No. 9 pick of the 2004 NBA Draft and is a two-time NBA All-Star. He spent some time with the USA Select Team and also had some advice young players.
“It doesn’t matter how good you are at 15-16-17 years old or if you’re a NBA free agent at 31 years old (as Noah is), it’s all a mentality,” said Noah, who has a Swedish mother and a French father. “There has to be some progress in everything you do.
“It’s very easy to get caught in the limelight of the NBA. There are distractions such as women. When you go to bed at night, ask yourself, ‘Did I get better today?’ It’s a simple message, but it’s the truth.
“I was blessed to be a ball boy at ABCD. My coached worked and I was sleeping on the floor when I was there, I didn’t even have a bed. Going into my senior year, I was able to play at the camp. I played well and it changed everything. Being able to watch the best you learn, ‘this is what I have to do.’
“When I came into the NBA, there was no Instagram, no Twitter. I feel blessed to be a part of the previous generation. Today’s young player is more into branding, and I think it takes away from team spirit and camaraderie.”