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Donnie Walsh Talking Hoops, What A Pleasure

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As I mentioned earlier, Donnie Walsh talked to Kravitz & Eddie on Tuesday afternoon (here's the audio link). Donnie vehemently denied that he had been politicking to assume control of the Pacers, again, as reported in several New York papers. He said he never politicked, in fact it was just the opposite. He felt he had already stayed too long.

Two items I found of great interest both dealt with the past. First, Donnie explained how he and Larry Bird have been working over the past few years and essentially explained who was responsible for what. While Bird was brought in to handle the basketball decisions, Donnie stepped in to help when Ron Artest asked for a trade while the Brawl impact was still fresh in everyone's mind.

When Larry came here it was my intention to have him take over the basketball and I was going to kind of be up on top somewhere, trying to help him in any way I could, while at the same time do the same thing on the business side. If you go back, you'll know Larry picked Rick Carlisle, he picked a couple of the players that were playing at that time.

And then when we got to those incidents, basically what happened was, well actually it happened before, when Artest got up and said he wanted to be traded, then I knew, there's no way that somebody who hasn't done this before is going to be able to trade Artest and then later Jackson because that is really a whole different ball game. You've gotta get out and you've gotta do it 24/7 on the phone and you've got to really have a feel, after you do that, for where the opening could come.

So that's what I did and so I basically got rid of both of those players because I thought we had to. And then after that, I told Larry, okay, now it's your ball game and then we went back to the other way of doing things. But last summer, we more or less legitimized that by me getting up and saying, okay, I'm going to be the CEO for the next year, meaning that I wasn't the operations at all and for the most part, from that point on, Larry has been doing it with David Morway.
I sure hope Larry was taking copious notes through the challenging deals Donnie had to make for Artest and Jack because he might have to do it a couple more times over the next year.

The second item of interest was listening to Donnie discuss his involvement with Black Magic. Donnie began talking about Ben Jobe and Jobe's mentor John McClendon who went back to James Naismith. What a joy to hear a real basketball man talking basketball.
He (Ben Jobe) was a student of McClendon who ran with the ball. Basically, he had a running game. And it's amazing and McClendon always said that Naismith said the game shouldn't be played in the half court, it should be played, you know, full court all the time. And when I look back on some of those colleges back, I don't even know what year it was, it seemed like it was the 30's, they were running like deer, and they were running like Phoenix was running earlier this year. And you think something's new, well it's not new at all.
Beautiful, isn't it?