The Plank

Good Coaching

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A few months ago, The New York Times had an excellent piece on Bill Belichick, the New England Patriots coach who rejected a team doctor's advice and put a player through full contact practice (the linebacker now has brain injuries).

Today, on the front page of The Wall Street Journal, Peter Waldman has a good article on the feud between Golden State Warriors coach Don Nelson and his former boss, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Since the Warriors have so far been the best story of the 2007 NBA playoffs, it's nice to read something classy about the brilliant Nelson:

[T]he coach and owner exploded at each other over Mr. Nelson's refusal to fulfill his boss's wish to play an injured Mr. Nowitzki, according to Mavericks officials close to the team's owner.Mr. Nowitzki had suffered sprained ligaments in his left knee in the third game of the best-of-seven series, but, with the Mavericks trailing three games to one, was cleared by team doctors to play again. Mr. Cuban confronted Mr. Nelson in the coach's office and demanded the star forward return to the court, Mavericks officials say.Mr. Nelson refused, insisting that playing the young German with the ligament injury would jeopardize his career. The coach also confided in friends that he had promised Mr. Nowitzki's parents, when the Mavericks signed the young man at age 19, that he would look after the seven-footer in Texas like a son.

--Isaac Chotiner

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