One-on-One with Alex English
Throughout the season spurs.com will celebrate the Spurs 40th Anniversary by visiting with former players, coaches and front office staff to discuss their experiences with the organization and the city of San Antonio.
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Alex English, entering his second season as an assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings, played for the Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Packers, Denver Nuggets and the Dallas Mavericks over his 15-year career. He is a member of the Basketball Hall-of-Fame and also spent seven seasons as an assistant coach and director of player development with the Toronto Raptors. The former All-Star is the NBA’s 13th all-time leading scorer. English took some time postgame after the Kings matchup against the Spurs on Mar. 1 to speak with Spurs.com.
On playing against the Spurs and George Gervin:
“He was always a better offensive player than myself. He did more things. I was a three and he was a two. He was a good ball handler. I can remember one story, I was with the Indiana Pacers and we just drafted Dudley Bradley. He was supposed to be one of the best defenders coming out of college. He was going to start the first game and he was going to start against the Spurs. Before the game he said ‘he was going to lock him up.’ I can remember Ice in that game having 40 points. I told him you don’t start a fire where there isn’t one. He started a fire and Ice would finger roll on him and say ‘come over here on this end young fella.’ We are friends off the floor too. We’ve done lots basketball camps together. He’s just a funny guy, good people.”
On playing against the Silver and Black in the HemisFair Arena:
“It was live. It was very electric. I can remember the baseline bums. They had a group of people up at top and they were real loud. They had good teams and always had good crowds. They had a lot of good players. Ice was probably one of the best to ever play here. One guy that I hated playing against was Mike Mitchell, who played my position. Having to guard him, he was only about 6’5 6’6, but he was one of the toughest small forwards in the league. He could put in buckets and was strong. Mark Olberding, they had him guard me because they wanted someone more physical on me and he beat me up. They had a lot of life here, just great teams with great players. I think of some of the players like Larry Kenon, who they called Dr. K, just having to guard him. Billy Paultz, Artis Gilmore, Johnny Moore, James Silas and Mike Gale. They had a lot of great players. I remember one of the best posters in the NBA at that time, a poster of George Gervin sitting on a cube of ice, ‘Iceman’ I thought that was a great poster.”
On how he has seen game has since he was a player:
“It’s a different game now. I think back then when the money wasn’t as great. I think players cared more. They were more a team. Players cared more about each other and spent time with each other. They did things with each other, doing family stuff and just hanging out. I don’t see that now today. Now you got internet and twitter, guys are going their own ways. It’s different in that sense. As far as the game, I think teams aren’t as strong as they used to be. Coming into here, playing against Gervin, Mitchell and Artis. You got Hall of Famers and All-Stars on the same team. Even on my teams, we all had three or four guys that could get you buckets every night. Now with the exceptions of teams paying a lot of money, it’s not that way anymore. You have a few teams but the list gets small. Back in the day almost every team had a couple guys to get you buckets.”