Shalom Life | April 26, 2015

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 Introduces Himself to the NBA

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."

Toronto is Unhappy with Drake After He Shook Hands with #1 Enemy Paul Pierce Toronto is Unhappy with Drake After He Shook Hands with #1 Enemy Paul Pierce TrendingThis 20-Year-Old Israeli Kayaker Has His Eyes on Olympic Gold This 20-Year-Old Israeli Kayaker Has His Eyes on Olympic Gold TrendingMeet Your Jewish MLB All-Stars: Class Of 2015 Meet Your Jewish MLB All-Stars: Class Of 2015 Trending
 

Yes, There's A Grateful Dead Album Entirely in Hebrew

April 24, 2015 | By Caitlin Marceau
Yes, There's A Grateful Dead Album Entirely in Hebrew

Released by Sagol 59 and Ami Yaris, "The Promised Land" features songs from the revered jam band beautifully translated into Hebrew

Read More

Ban Ki-Moon Eats Shakshuka On Israel Independence Day

April 24, 2015 | By Caitlin Marceau
Ban Ki-Moon Eats Shakshuka On Israel Independence Day

An exploration into Israeli food, and maybe the first step towards peace, Ban Ki-Moon tries shakshuka for the first time

Read More

WATCH: Tel Aviv Zookeeper Captures Awesome Footage of Animals Drinking

April 24, 2015 | By Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels
WATCH: Tel Aviv Zookeeper Captures Awesome Footage of Animals Drinking

Elad Hershkowitz captured the unique footage by placing a GoPro camera at the bottom of animals' water troughs to get a closer look at how giraffes, lions, rhinos and lemurs relieve their parched pallets

Read More

First Nations Actors Storm Off the Set of Adam Sandler's Western Spoof

April 24, 2015 | By Caitlin Marceau
First Nations Actors Storm Off the Set of Adam Sandler's Western Spoof

Despite concerns raised by actors on the set, and even following a walkout by cast, Netflix and Sandler stand by the 'The Ridiculous Six'

Read More

Poland Wants Mattel To Recall 'Apples To Apples' Game For Labelling Them As Nazis

April 24, 2015 | By Caitlin Marceau
Poland Wants Mattel To Recall 'Apples To Apples' Game For Labelling Them As Nazis

A card which refers to their country as "Nazi Poland" during the second World War has been deemed offensive and demeaning to Poland

Read More

Former New York State Governor and Possible Presidential Candidate Has Longstanding Jewish Ties

April 24, 2015 | By Jacob Kamaras, JNS.org
Former New York State Governor and Possible Presidential Candidate Has Longstanding Jewish Ties

George Pataki has a strong history with Jewish voters for a Republican

Read More

Israel: One Of The Happiest Countries On Earth

April 24, 2015 | By Caitlin Marceau
Israel: One Of The Happiest Countries On Earth

Israel takes the 11th spot on the UN's annual happiness report, coming out on top of countries like the U.S. and U.K.

Read More

Netanyahu Condemns Ultra Orthodox Jewish Attackers of IDF Officer

April 24, 2015 | By Kobi Nachshoni
Netanyahu Condemns Ultra Orthodox Jewish Attackers of IDF Officer

'They are lawbreakers. Service in the IDF is a source of pride,' the Israeli PM stated

Read More

More Headlines