Mike D’Antoni: I’m ‘the Forrest Gump of basketball’

Mike D'Antoni
Ethan Sears
Written by Ethan Sears

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 “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.

About the author

Ethan Sears

Ethan Sears

Ethan Sears is the publisher of sports web site and will graduate in 2017 from Rye High School in Westchester County, New York. He has loved sports from an early age and intends to have a long career in journalism.

Ethan interned at the New York Post in the summers of 2015 and 2016. He also writes for Giants Wire, USA Today's New York Giants blog. In addition to writing and editing his own website, Ethan is the sports editor for his school paper, Garnet and Black. You can follow him on Twitter @ethan_sears.