Hot Route for Coaches
The Mike over The Clipboard
Eddie Johnson, who retired in 1999 after a 17-year career as a high-scoring forward, is following a relatively new path in pursuit of his goal to become a head coach. Johnson turned down opportunities to work as an assistant because he believed he could realize his ambition more quickly by analyzing NBA games on television.
Johnson points out that Pat Riley, Doc Rivers and Isiah Thomas were TV announcers with no coaching experience when they took over teams. "Every time I do a game on TV, I feel like I'm interviewing for a job," says Johnson, 41, who is works Suns games on TV and radio. Johnson appreciates that many of his games are aired nationally via digital cable and subscriber satellite dishes, and that such broadcasts are watched religiously by NBA executives. "They get an understanding for how you dissect situations," Johnson says. "It maybe my ego talking, but I think I'm as qualified as Doc and Isiah. I just need the right person to realize that."
Someone has probably already realized that Rick Carlisle, who was Larry Bird's right-hand man with the Pacers, belongs on the list of head-coaching candidates for next season. He has been preparing to run his own team by attending NBA practices, studying tapes of pro and college games and working part time as a broadcaster for the Sonics. "I didn't realize it would be such a good tool," the 41-year-old Carlisle says of his time behind a mike. "Overcoaching is a real danger when you become a head coach, but broadcasting prepares you to stay concise. Production and broadcasting people tell you that less is more, and timing is everything, and that's the way it is with coaching."
P.J. Carlesimo is also among the talking heads who hope to find work on the sideline—and not as the next Jim Gray. Carlesimo is a studio analyst for NBC and a color man for half the Spurs' local telecasts. "I'm sure it doesn't hurt," he says. "Maybe it gets my name in the mix."
Outside the Box Score
Parting Gift For the Knocks
In his last game before being traded to the Raptors, Knicks point guard Chris Childs helped preserve a 76-74 win over the visiting Heat by harassing Tim Hardaway into an air ball on a three-point attempt with five seconds to play. Hardaway was no doubt glad to see Childs dealt (along with a No. 1 pick) for Mark Jackson, a much slower defender.