Wow, Nellie! Coach Among Greats Entering NBA Hall of Fame
Former NBA coach Don Nelson said he's having the time of his life upon his entry into the Basketball Hall of Fame, the league's winningest coach said Thursday.
Nelson, with 1,335 wins over his title-less but legendary coaching career, admitted he raved about the Miami Heat's NBA Finals victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, especially when Erik Spoeltra's guys utilized one of his innovations in the game: the small ball.
"I got a kick out of Miami winning it all," Nelson told USA Today in a phone interview. "They didn't use their big lineup all that much. They really matched up and caused problems for Oklahoma City. I thought Erik (Spoelstra) did a great job coaching."
Nelson added it's a great feeling joining fellow coaching greats Phil Jackson, Lenny Wilkins, and Jerry Sloan to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
"It's a great feeling actually, probably the pinnacle of anyone's career. I just feel lucky and fortunate to be a member of this year's class," Nelson added. "Even today, I don't feel worthy of being in the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is for greatness. I'm a lot of things, but none of them are great."
Asked if he still wants to coach an NBA team again, Nelson said he's done coaching and very much happy in his retirement.
After playing 14 seasons with the Boston Celtics, Nelson then assumed head coaching role for the Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks, and the Dallas Mavericks. Nelson later rejoined the Warriors and eventually broke Lenny Wilkins' win record in the final year of his deal.
Aside from claiming the NBA Coach of the Year three times, Nelson was best remembered for introducing innovations to the game like the run-and-gun offense, small ball and the arrival of the point-forward role in the NBA.
On Friday, Nelson, Reggie Miller, Ralph Samson and 7 others are scheduled to be inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame Thursday at 7:30 pm on NBA Live.
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