Shalom Life | October 20, 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 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."

Floyd Mayweather and His 'Money Team' VS. 'Jewish Guys in Real Estate' Floyd Mayweather and His 'Money Team' VS. 'Jewish Guys in Real Estate' TrendingIsraeli Swimmers Make History For Longest Open-Water Swim Israeli Swimmers Make History For Longest Open-Water Swim TrendingAmar'e Stoudemire Scores Points for United Hatzalah Amar'e Stoudemire Scores Points for United Hatzalah Trending
 

The Nosh Pit: Vegan Soups and Stews

October 20, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
The Nosh Pit: Vegan Soups and Stews

What's better than comforting and healthy soups and stews on these damp and rainy days?

Read More

Jerry Seinfeld Honors Jay Leno, Wonders Where His Mark Twain Prize Is

October 20, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Jerry Seinfeld Honors Jay Leno, Wonders Where His Mark Twain Prize Is

Seinfeld was one of many comedians that celebrated the former 'Tonight Show' host

Read More

'The Real Housewives of New York' Welcomes Back Bethenny Frankel

October 20, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
'The Real Housewives of New York' Welcomes Back Bethenny Frankel

The Skinnygirl founder will be returning for the seventh season of the popular reality series.

Read More

Known for Chemistry, Israeli Nobel Laureate Also Champions Tech Entrepreneurship

October 20, 2014 | By Alina Dain Sharon, JNS.org
Known for Chemistry, Israeli Nobel Laureate Also Champions Tech Entrepreneurship

Dan Shechtman, winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and a candidate in last June's Israeli presidential election, has long championed technological entrepreneurship and its potential to improve lives around the world

Read More

Israeli Study Says Diet Soda Can Lead to Diabetes and Obesity

October 20, 2014 | By NoCamels Team
Israeli Study Says Diet Soda Can Lead to Diabetes and Obesity

Is this the reason why diet soda drinkers are often overweight?

Read More

Report Claims Nazi War Criminals Received Millions in U.S. Social Security Benefits

October 20, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Report Claims Nazi War Criminals Received Millions in U.S. Social Security Benefits

Investigation by Associated Press finds that dozens of Nazis collected payments as part of a deal to force them to leave the U.S. voluntarily

Read More

Mango Under Fire For Selling 'SS Blouse'

October 20, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Mango Under Fire For Selling 'SS Blouse'

The Jewish-founded fashion company has faced increased criticism this week after unveiling a new shirt that boasts a lightning-bolt motif

Read More

Russian Social Media Site Hosts 'Miss Hitler' Beauty Pageant

October 20, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Russian Social Media Site Hosts 'Miss Hitler' Beauty Pageant

'Miss Hitler 2014' encourages women to send Nazi-themed photos explaining their love for Hitler, and hatred of Jews

Read More

More Headlines