Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

David Blatt Introduces Himself to the NBA

The Israeli-American coach brings confidence and humor as Head Coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers

By: Shaleni McBain

Published: June 26th, 2014 in Sports » Local

David Blatt, former Maccabi Tel Aviv coach, was officially introduced as the new head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers at a press conference Wednesday.

Blatt automatically put minds at ease and won over analysts when he brought along his fresh sense of humor and a thick air of confidence.

He warned everyone that he has won everywhere from Maccabi through Benetton through the Russian national team and back through Maccabi. Also, that he plans on doing the same in the NBA. Then he asked and hoped that he would have everyone’s help along the way.

Blatt used humor to admit he won’t replicate the winning percentage he had with Maccabi in the Israeli league.

“I hope I bring the philosophy of Maccabi Tel Aviv, which is never lose a game,” he declared. “Not one or there’s going to be a countrywide investigation.” Then, he added to the amusement of the reporters in the room, “I hope the manager didn’t hear me say that.”

Blatt now owns the distinction of being the first European head coach to take the head of an NBA team. The 55-year-old brings a proven track record, complete with Israeli, Russian and European titles.

“I’ve been coaching for over 20 years in Europe I played for another 12 years professionally. It’s a great honor to represent the fine European coaches that I’ve worked with, and coached against. It’s a great honor to have received the benefit of coaching great players, many of whom are now in the NBA and many others who could be. “

The Massachusetts native added: “I know that I’m carrying a torch. I hope like hell that I don’t drop it. I don’t plan on it.”

Blatt touched base on the differences between the European and American styles of basketball, yet rejected any idea that the adjustment would impede on his path to success.

“The game is not so different as people think it is,” he said. “It’s a little bit longer here. Perhaps the level of athleticism and speed all around the court is different. But it’s not like playing baseball and soccer. It’s still the same game. I’ve coached enough international games, participated in enough events that include NBA players and NBA teams to know that when you play the game right it doesn’t really make a difference where you play it.”

Blatt acknowledged that he is aware that the Cavaliers are in far from an ideal position.

“Like many teams we have many areas for improvement that we must address,” he said. “We have a new system to incorporate and our team tactic and learning curve in terms of implementing a new style team.

When asked about the philosophy he planned to bring to the Cavaliers, he referred to Drew Kennedy, a former player of Blatt’s who drove in from Chicago for the press conference.

“He’ll tell you the same thing I’m going to tell you right now,” he said. “It’s always been the same: Play hard, play together play to win and have fun. There’s not a lot I can tell you tactically right now until I sit down with the players and get inside their heads, till I see the final roster is gonna be.”

Blatt describes himself as the coach who learns “from what you have” rather than a “systematic” coach.

“I’m not an offensive or defensive coach,” he said. “I’m a basketball coach.”

Colombia's Jewish Football Coach A National Hero Colombia’s Jewish Football Coach A National Hero Trending NFL Players Praise Israeli Company’s Orthopedic Shoes Trending Germany to Play Friendly Match in Israel Trending
 

Shaw Festival Review: The Charity That Began at Home

July 02, 2014 | By Hermine Steinberg
Shaw Festival Review: The Charity That Began at Home

Hankin’s Edwardian drawing room comedy centers on the fundamental question of whether any dogma, even one which appears to be driven by genuinely altruistic motives, can be applied universally and have positive results.

Read More

Joan Rivers Tells PETA to Shut Up

July 02, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Joan Rivers Tells PETA to Shut Up

The comedienne insulted PETA activists during a book signing on Tuesday

Read More

149 Rare Bob Dylan Tracks Discovered

July 02, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
149 Rare Bob Dylan Tracks Discovered

The songs were recorded and stored in New York City in the late 60’s.

Read More

Steven Spielberg “Director’s Collection” Coming Soon

July 02, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Steven Spielberg “Director’s Collection” Coming Soon

Universal Studios is releasing a box set including 8 films from the legendary Hollywood director

Read More

Jay Baruchel to Star in FXX Show ‘Man Seeking Woman’

July 02, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Jay Baruchel to Star in FXX Show ‘Man Seeking Woman’

The Canadian actor will play a naive romantic named Josh Greenberg

Read More

Adam Richman’s New Travel Channel Show Postponed

July 02, 2014 | By Sarah Bauder
Adam Richman’s New Travel Channel Show Postponed

‘Man Finds Food’ was scheduled to premiere on the network July 2nd.

Read More

Shaw Festival Review: Arms and a Man

July 02, 2014 | By Hermine Steinberg
Shaw Festival Review: Arms and a Man

George Orwell once described ‘Arms and a Man’ as Shaw’s wittiest play.

Read More

“Be Prepared” From ‘The Lion King’ Was Based On 1935 Nazi Propaganda Film

July 02, 2014 | By J.S. Côté
"Be Prepared" From 'The Lion King' Was Based On 1935 Nazi Propaganda Film

Curious similarities noted between it and "Triumph of the Will"

Read More

More Headlines