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In The Lane With Licht: October 15, 2004

Bob LichtBob Licht
FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY, STING LIKE A BEE

Unfamiliar names and faces tend to be in the majority during NBA training camps when roster can swell to as many as 20 players. For those of us in Bayou its players like Nate Williams, Junior Harrington and Britton Johnsen who are mixed in with established vets as well as all-stars Baron Davis and Jamaal Magloire.

But those are the PLAYERS fighting for NBA jobs.

Theres a COACH in the Hornets camp who is quietly going about his business behind the scenes, on the court and in the locker room. His name to many is as unfamiliar as the aforementioned free agents hoping to secure roster spots.

Henry Hines is his name and running is his game. Sprinting actually. Boxing too. And he intends on doing for the 2004-2005 Hornets what he did for the SHOWTIME LAKERS of the 80s.

The former track and field star at Southern California, who was also a world-class long jumper, is aiding Hornets players this month with footwork and agility. But it is his methodology that peeks our interest as much as his presence at the Alario Center where the Hornets hold training camp.

How he got from track and field to the basketball court is as intriguing as the concepts he uses.

I started working with tennis star Arthur Ashe back in the mid 70s. I went to one of his tennis tournaments and although I didnt know much about the game it was obvious to me that the players were slow. I told them how amazing it was that they could be such great athletes and make so much money but couldnt move very well. He asked me to study the game a little and I started working with him a little and did pretty well.

Hines worked with players on the tennis tour for 15 years before getting a call from Pat Riley of the LA Lakers.


Bob Licht interviews Henry Hines
He said he heard some things about me and how I worked with athletes on their movement and thought I could help with basketball. I went there in 1986 and Pats words were pretty direct. He said I want this team to fly baby. I told him I would try and see what happens. Byron Scott was there and my man was flying.

Scott and Hines have been working together since that time. The Hornets head coach would work out with Hines to get ready for Rileys grueling camps and later utilized Hines for his players in New Jersey as head coach.

Acknowledging that every team runs and trains, Hines explains that his methods help NBA players gain more quickness, agility and footwork and then apply it all to the court.

The first thing I do is ask players a simple question. If youre 10-15% slower than you currently are will it affect your game? Conversely, if youre 10-15% quicker than you currently are will it affect your game? Easy answers, right? From that premise we work on the concepts of acceleration and movement up and down the floor. From there I tailor the information for each individual.

And the individual who seems to have taken to his techniques most intently, such as Scott did years ago in LA?

Big Cat. He likes the idea of improving his movement. But all the guys understand the necessity of moving well because this team is going to be a very quick and very fast moving organization. No player has rejected the idea. Baron Davis has come in for extra work, so has Alex Garcia.

Sprinting is one thing. Mixing boxing and basketball would seem to be as out of place as seeing Alan Greenspan at a rap concert. But Hines disagrees.

Boxing is a great provider of agility and footwork. Think about it. Most NBA players when they step slide are pretty heavy and off balance. When you box you naturally have that Ali or Sugar Ray dancing mentality. We use the footwork technique in guarding a man for instance. This is an application thats fun to do also. It gives them the same concept from a different point of view.

So when watching the Bees on D this season perhaps we should remember the poetry of the greatest boxer of all-time, Muhammad Ali:

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.

Boxing in the Bayou may never be the same.

BOB LICHT BIO
Bob Licht is in his ninth season as the New Orleans Hornets radio play-by-play voice. Along with his play-by-play duties for the Hornets, Licht is also in charge of building and servicing the teams multi-state radio network. He also writes a column (In The Lane with Licht) on Hornets.com.

Licht, who was also the radio voice of the WNBA Charlotte Sting for five seasons, has also filled in on Fox Sports telecasts of Hornets basketball and co-hosted, along with Steve Martin, Hornets and Sting Update, a monthly TV magazine show.

He has extensive professional baseball experience. In 1996 and 1997, he was the radio voice of the Triple-A Charlotte Knights of the International League. From 1990-95, Licht was the Director of Broadcasting of the Double-A Carolina Mudcats of the Southern League, where he was named the league's broadcaster of the year in 1995.

Licht is a native of Detroit, Michigan. He graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in broadcast journalism in 1981. During his time at Syracuse, he was involved in radio broadcasts of football and basketball. As a junior, he worked as a reporter at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY, and did play-by-play for the International Leagues Syracuse Chiefs.

Following his graduation, he called football, basketball and baseball games for Marietta (Ohio) College. From there, he moved back to North Carolina where he worked with the Wake Forest University football and basketball network as an engineer, color commentator and play-by-play announcer.

Licht and his wife, Monica, reside in Mandeville with their three daughters, Rachel (14), Sara (9) and Alexandra (7).
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