By Reinis Lacis (@LamarMatic)
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NBA champion Tony Campbell recalls how Chuck Daly influenced the Detroit Pistons to go from a high-scoring team to being the defensive-minded Bad Boys, remembers his time in Los Angeles and winning a championship ring with the Lakers and talks about the early days of the Minnesota Timberwolves franchise, which feature legendary coach Bill Musselman, Tony averaging 20 points per game and some more fun tidbits.
Topics discussed in the podcast:
Tony being a very good athlete and baseball player when growing up, his high school basketball team’s success;
Playing for the Ohio State Buckeyes and facing Michael Jordan‘s North Carolina Tar Heels in the NCAA tournament;
Becoming a more tough player at Ohio State, which allowed Tony to play more big (and match-up with Brad Daugherty against NC) and combine that toughness with his creativity;
Dealing with lack of playing time and second-guessing himself as a young player in Detroit;
Chuck Daly teaching him, criticising him and being up-front in those early Pistons years;
Detroit’s transition from a offensive-minded team with players like John Long and Kelly Tripucka to Daly shifting them in defensive mode and drafting Dennis Rodman, John Salley;
Tony having a great time when playing for CBA’s Albany Patroons, which featured Michael Ray Richardson and often hanging out with Mike Tyson in the same night club;
Mitch Kupchak and Jerry West pursuing him more than other teams over an NBA comeback;
Two finals appearances with the Los Angeles Lakers and being good friends with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar;
Bill Musselman promising the hard-working guys like Sidney Lowe, Scott Brooks, Tod Murphy and Scott Roth ahead of time that he will sign them when he gets a gig in the NBA;
The intense approach, preparation and practices of Bill Musselman and his defensive-minded assistant.. Tom Thibodeau;
Tony scoring 44 points against the Boston Celtics in Minnesota’s first nationally televised game and how even Reggie Lewis wouldn’t have stopped him that night;
A fun story of coach Musselman repeatedly going to Randy Breuer to force Don Nelson‘s hand so he would double team and Tony with Pooh Richardson would get open looks, yet Nellie not doing it and Breuer ending up with 40 points;
Tony valuing his days in Minnesota and having the ability to be the lead player just as much as his time in LA;
The demanding and precise work of coach Pat Riley;
Tony’s work in education and coaching after his pro basketball career.
The media related to the podcast:
Some interesting snippets of the interview:
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Thanks to Tony Campbell for staying with me as I got through phone connection problems and sharing his basketball career memories!