By the time the Warriors left Hershey on their arduous exhibition schedule (8,430 miles and 15 games) they were a spirited ball team, and Wilt Chamberlain, not a sulky man by nature, was a talking, singing and, for him, downright gregarious member of the group.
But the NBA had begun teaching McGuire some things, too. He had only needed two neckties at the training camp. Hershey wasn't a necktie town. He stopped picking up the phone and saying, "This is Coach McGuire, I'd like to..." because nobody knew who Coach McGuire was.
Big Clyde cuts loose
Then in one of the Warriors' first exhibition games, he was shocked as mighty Clyde Lovellette of the St. Louis Hawks glowered down at a rookie referee and loudly said, "Let me tell you something and don't you forget it. You are a punk." Only he didn't say punk. The referee called a technical foul. "That makes you two of them," said Lovellette.
"I've never seen a player do such a thing," said an astonished McGuire.
At Johnson City, Tenn. that Hawk rookie, Cleo (Machine Gun) Hill, got in a minor fracas with Warrior Ed Conlin. It ended as fast as it started. But the Hawks' aggressive young coach, Paul Seymour, boomed off the bench onto the court and started brawling with Conlin. McGuire couldn't believe it. After the game he went to Referee Jim Duffy, who has had nine seasons with the NBA. "It's all an act, isn't it, Duffy?" he asked seriously. "It's like the Globetrotters, or something. It isn't for real, is it?"
"It's for real," Jim Duffy told him.
McGuire brooded about that. Later he said, "If that's what you've got to do in this game, then it's not for me. I've got standards of my own, and I'm not going to do the things that I see go on in this league."
When the Warriors lost their first exhibition McGuire was unhappy. "That's more than I lost in 1957," he kidded them, but they saw it was no real joke. "It's a long season," said Wilt Chamberlain. "Mr. McGuire will have to learn to lose sometimes."
There is a tendency in the NBA for the owners to help their coaches with the coaching. Eddie Gottlieb, who, after all, has plenty of experience, is known as a helper. "Have you given the team an out-of-bounds play?" Gottlieb innocently asked McGuire one day.