By Reinis Lacis (@LamarMatic)
There are so many ways I could introduce Audie Norris. European basketball star with Barcelona, former Portland Trail Blazer, global ambassador of the NBA, even a certified backboard breaker. We talked about everything. From coaching kids to teaching Kristaps Porzingis the bank shot, his main influences in basketball and greats from different parts of the world. A packed episode of The Handle podcast.
Topics discussed in the podcast:
01:40 – Coaching basketball all around the world, experience in China with the Jump10 program, his pupils who went professional;
07:30 – The untapped potential of places like China and Senegal, the numerous kids who showed up for his camp in Senegal, feeling short among the locals;
11:15 – Kristaps Porzingis having the skill level even before, being there at the right time to teach him the bank shot, a shot he had not used before, the authors of the bank shot like Tim Duncan, Julius Erving, Juan Antonio San Epifanio, Jose Ortiz;
15:40 – The theory of coach Kevin Eastman, how it can be boring and repetitive to work on your skills;
20:05 – Older brother Sylvester Norris as his idol who took Audie with him to Jackson State scrimmages, how that helped him mature as a player, later joining Sylvester for summer practices with the San Antonio Spurs, George Gervin predicting that he’ll see Audie in the NBA in a couple of years;
26:40 – Breaking five backboards during his career, a memorable glass shattering dunk against Alcorn State and Larry Smith, Mychal Thompson giving him the nickname “Atomic Dog” after a dunk on the Dallas Mavericks;
31:50 – Intense practices in the NBA, having it instilled in him to adopt the right basketball habits, coach Jack Ramsay teaching him how to be a professional, being in awe of the Los Angeles Lakers during his first game against them and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar;
40:40 – Series-winning shot against the Dallas Mavericks in the 1985 Playoffs, good friend Kiki Vandeweghe helping him with his confidence, Mark Aguirre‘s performance in that game;
43:35 – Leaving the NBA for more playing time in Europe, how it helped prolong his career, the very good competition in Italy, returning to a Blazers camp later on and listening to his body;
51:10 – Facing Arvydas Sabonis in Spain and his strategy of bringing him away from the basket, an anti-Norris campaign in Spain, other teams signing players like Stanley Roberts, a rivalry with Fernando Martin, the physical game back then;
57:45 – A blessed career, meeting Adam Silver and becoming a part of the European Ambassador Program, the respect he has for the very strong Jugoplastika teams of Toni Kukoc and Dino Radja, his main rivals in the European Champions Cup.
The media related to the podcast:
A clutch drive to the basket at 3:38 with 20 seconds left, the baseline jumper to win the game at 3:59:
Notable snippets of the interview:
Thanks to Audie for coming on the show and teaching us more about the game of basketball!