Hollins Has That Brooklyn Swagger
ORLANDO – Every coach that has plied his trade in this town has never been criticized for dreaming big.
This is the city of big dreamers.
Lionel Hollins had that Gordon Gekko gleam in his eye when BrooklynNets.com asked him:
What would it mean to you to win an NBA title as a coach, and what it would mean to bring the Nets their first NBA title?
"I'm not looking at just one title," said Hollins. "I'm talking about two…"
Hollins broke into laughter. But don't be fooled. This is a man who despite growing up out west and living the last 12 years in the south, has a lot of New York swagger in him.
"I believe it will be fun,'' Hollins said of coaching in the Big Apple. "Everybody's like, 'Well, if you win it will be fun.' I expect to win. We expect to win here.
"I didn't believe that this miracle-like opportunity came about for me to come here and fail. I have confidence that we're going to get it done.
"And I'd love to be on that level where we win the championship and we can all celebrate together. That would be the ultimate. I could just picture it.
"When I was an assistant coach and they built a new arena [in Memphis], it was right off of Beale Street, and I remember walking down Beale Street to the arena. I said, 'Man, one day we're going to make this place rock and they'll be dancing on Beale Street.' And we did get to that. We never got to go to another level.
"Now here I am in New York and I believe all the possibilities for being a champion are in place and we just have to do our job and make it a reality."
Hollins said he could imagine a championship celebration in Brooklyn.
"I'm an old baseball fan," said Hollins. "The old Brooklyn Dodgers, when they finally overcame everything and won the World Series and how Brooklyn reacted to that, that's what I think about.
"I wasn't old enough to see it, but the stories and reading the books on all the different players and the whole Dodgers era, it would be just sweet as could be to be in a parade in Brooklyn."
Hollins always had an eye on New York. His former teammate at Arizona State, Gary Jackson, a Brooklynite who played his high school ball at Franklin K. Lane, said Hollins' idol was Walt Frazier.
Frazier was one of the best defensive guards the NBA has known while playing with the New York Knicks for 10 seasons. Hollins wants this Nets' team to be known for its defense and toughness.
"[I want to] add some toughness, add some discipline,'' said Hollins. "And when I say discipline I'm not talking about fining somebody for being late, but discipline to do the right things on the court, be where you're supposed to be, make the rotations, be in the right spot on offense, make the right pass and those types of things; that is discipline.
"In order to be successful, you have to know your job and do your job consistently."
Hollins made it clear at his introductory press conference that he is here for one reason and one reason only: to coach this team. He said he sees the potential for a good team.
Is it a championship-caliber team? Time will tell.
Hollins relishes the challenge. He won an NBA title as a player and would like to join the elite list of men who have won titles as a player and a coach.
"It would make me happy to see what I believe in and what I have a passion for come to fruition with a group," said Hollins. "For New York and Brooklyn, it would be unbelievable."