Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni played professional basketball in Kansas City, St. Louis, San Antonio and Italy, where he also started his coaching career. He was an assistant in Denver, San Antonio and Portland before he started a basketball revolution in Phoenix, trying and failing to move it to New York and Los Angeles, and finally finding the perfect Steve Nash lookalike in Houston.
He is the Forrest Gump of basketball, and he knows it.
“He has coached in New York and Los Angeles — the two biggest markets — and Phoenix, Houston and Denver,” [Laurel D’Antoni] said, per Tim Keown of ESPN.com. “He’s coached two Olympic cycles. He’s coached the NBA All-Star Game. He was coach of the year. What’s he bitching about?”
“I’m not bitching,” [Mike D’Antoni] says, looking up from his crossword. (It’s true — he hadn’t been.) “I don’t bitch. I know who I am: the Forrest Gump of basketball.”
They say that if the shoe fits, wear it. Well, this shoe fits.
D’Antoni — a West Virginian — is a journeyman’s journeyman, someone who’s coached from coast to coast and across an ocean for good measure. He’s worked with everyone from Nash and James Harden to Justus Thigpen and Mike Ratliff.
In terms of coaches without a title ring, D’Antoni has to be considered the most influential. Nearly every team in the league at least uses major elements of his 7-seconds or less offense, more than Don Nelson or Jerry Sloan — the two winningest coaches not to own a ring — could ever say.
The only thing left to do is meet the president.