Last week Danny Ainge returned to TBS and TNT as an NBA analyst after spending three-plus seasons coaching the Suns. In his first week back on the beat Ainge attended eight basketball games. "My kids' games," said Ainge last Saturday. (His eldest son, 18-year-old Austin, is a guard at Highland High in Gilbert, Ariz., and three more of his six offspring play at various levels.) Ainge may have divorced himself from NBA coaching to spend more time with his family, but his basketball jones is alive. "I'm a basketball junkie," says Ainge. "That will never change."
Turner Sports agrees. On Dec. 14, the day after Ainge resigned from his position as Suns coach in order to spend more time with his family, Turner contacted him about returning to the analyst position that he'd held in 1995-96 to favorable reviews. "Right now I'm working without a contract," Ainge says, "but I plan on doing this for a while."
In his first stint Ainge displayed a gym rat's passion for the game while communicating his thoughts with clarity and caustic wit. He returns to the mike with the perspective of coach who has drawn up game plans encompassing virtually every player in the league. Viewers can expect Ainge to remain unsparing in his assessments "My personality hasn't changed," he says. "Coaching may have given me more insights, but it didn't make me any more or lest sympathetic to the people on the court. I'm still going to say what's on my mind."