By Reinis Lacis (@LamarMatic)
13-year NBA veteran Fred Roberts joined the show to go through the various stops he had during his career which include playing for the 1980s Boston Celtics and the pressure that was there on bench players, the overachieving late 80s/early 90s Milwaukee Bucks and their great chemistry, as well as a few stops in Europe.
Topics discussed in the podcast:
01:30 – Growing up in Utah and playing various sports, thriving in basketball only later on, older brother Glen being a huge influence;
05:30 – The aspects that made Brigham Young University an intriguing school to join, coach Frank Arnold having UCLA in his past and putting in a running style, Danny Ainge doing well there, certain Mormon standards;
07:15 – Being drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks after a down senior year, going to a youth camp with fellow rookie Paul Pressey, Don Nelson not being shy about not having wanted to draft him, choosing to play in Italy and working hard there;
10:00 – Facing a team of NBA All-Stars coached by Stan Albeck in an exhibition game in Italy, scoring 43 points against them, later being traded for coach Albeck;
16:05 – Europe preparing him for the NBA with its demands for foreign players, the good times with a veteran San Antonio Spurs squad lead by the funny George Gervin;
19:15 – Joining the previous champions Boston Celtics, looking forward to playing with Larry Bird, being a Celtics boosting his value around the league, Boston as a hard place to play at due to a certain disrespect towards the bench players;
26:25 – The first 12 games of the 1987-88 season during which he started and averaged 11.4 points per game, playing in front of the devoted Boston fans, the opening game against the Bucks in which he scored 20;
29:45 – Milwaukee, a great place to live and play in, Del Harris’s approach as a coach, the first time that he was encouraged to shoot, every player on the team believing in each other, success with the Bucks feeling very good because the team overachieved thanks to its smarts and chemistry;
35:35 – Milwaukee’s injuries during the 1989 playoffs to key players, him peaking at the end of the season and scoring 33 against the Detroit Pistons in the Conference Semifinals, the confidence that Ricky Pierce had [the Sixth Man of the Year both in 1986-87 and 1989-90, as well as an All-Star in 1990-91]
39:25 – Never feeling established enough around the league, jumping at the opportunity to play for Barcelona, advised by Steve Trumbo, the control coaches had in Europe, Juan Antonio San Epifanio yelling at the head coach after a blown Euroleague game;
45:30 – Playing with the strong Tony Massenburg in Barcelona, the expectations European teams have of American players, how good Arvydas Sabonis was, a month spent in France where he would have to replace Michael Young in the French league games for Limoges;
50:30 – Two 26-point games against the Boston Celtics (boxscores here and here), the tiresome five-overtime game against the Seattle Supersonics, Dennis Johnson giving him the nickname of Norman Bates, all-time top scorers in the NBA from BYU, Shawn Bradley‘s mentality;
59:30 – How special it was to play for US national basketball teams, the happiness his family gives him.
The media related to the podcast:
Highlights of Fred Roberts’s 33 points and Isiah Thomas‘s triple double in the aforementioned Bucks – Pistons game.
Notable snippets of the interview:
Thanks to Fred for coming on the podcast and providing the listeners with such insightful answers!