Author RE REYNOLDS, Basketball Basketball Writer
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Tim Cone and Phil Jackson basketball coach in the Philippines. He is Gregg Popovich. He’s Bill Belichick.
Technically, those analogy sells Cone briefly. Jackson, Popovich and Belichick – three of the most coached coaches in recent years in popular games – have joined 22 competitions as major coaches in their competitions. Cone has 24.
However for the past few weeks, Cone has been a helper for the first time in his life. He was on the Miami Heat staff at the NBA Summer League, looking for new ideas, new coaching materials, different ways of thinking about the game.
“It has been amazing to me,” Cone said. “Honestly, the reason I’m back is getting things back, to let them know about our league. Because you know, everything that is good, is copied. So I’ll bring things back, do some new things there, some coaches will pick them up and we hope they can lift us all in our league and raise the basketball.
Cone’s presence was only part of the global sentiment this year at the Summer League, which almost always has something that commemorates the game’s international presence. China and Croatia sent their teams to the Summer League in recent years, and this summer, there were less than 86 international players who played in Las Vegas – meaning that almost one in five players in the league was born outside the US.
And the world is watching: For example, when Chinese Fanbo Zeng received his first Summer League basket from the Indiana Pacers, it became national news in his home country.
“He has a good attitude towards the game,” Pacers vice-coach Ronald Nored said.
Some of the Las Vegas-born players have been in NBA games this season. Some will end up in the G League, and many will play overseas.
Cone’s future was uncertain: he returned to the Philippines on Thursday to resume his season. He coaches Barangay Ginebra at the Philippines Basketball Association, the most successful team in the league. And this event will make her star a little brighter, especially given her rivals in Las Vegas.
Heat trainer Erik Spoelstra is Filipino-American. Basketball is an international sport in the Philippines, and the Heat is always a big issue thanks to Spoelstra – who visited his mother’s home in the past during major festivals and will return next year as part of USA Basketball coaches at the World Basketball World . Cup as Americans qualify as expected.
Cone, like Spoelstra, is a native of Oregon. They have known each other for years. Cone seeds to join staff in the summer Heat were planted a few years ago when a Filipino player came to Las Vegas to work with another NBA team.
“I was on the phone with Spo and he said, ‘Why didn’t you come, you’re doing this to us?'” Cone said. Last year, we were in the playoffs in my home league, so I couldn’t come. This year, we talked again, and the issue was raised. Behold, here I am; And I mean, it’s just a weird, wonderful experience. ”
Spoelstra points to the Cone 24 race and calls it a “true legend.”
“Tim, obviously, has a lot of coaching experience,” Spoelstra said. “She has been a great resource. Tim has a great sense of humor. He is very humble. He is here a great reason for experience. From the point of view of head training, he is an adult just to change his mind. It has been very good on both sides. ”
And the presence of Cone in Las Vegas was another reminder that the game is more global than ever.
“There is no question right now,” Spoelstra said. “There are players from all walks of life.”
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