Column: Adelman's 1,000th A Family Milestone
Adelman's 1,000th Win A Family Milestone, Not A Personal Achievement
Rick Adelman stood on the Target Center court addressing the crowd for about 5-10 minutes last night after Minnesota secured his 1,000th career win. His wife, Mary Kay, stood by his side holding his hand.
She’s been there next to him through this entire journey, starting with his first win in Portland in 1989 all the way through becoming the eighth member of the 1,000 wins club. The Adelmans have always been very family-oriented, but this season, as Mary Kay went through a personal medical scare, that fact came to the forefront as Adelman spent three weeks with her away from the team.
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“She had to be part of it,” Adelman said. “I told her I was going to bring her down. She wasn’t very happy about that, but she has been there all the years. When you go through a job like this in situations and you move and raise six kids and everything else, if it wasn’t for her I couldn’t have done it.”
Saturday’s milestone was not just a Rick Adelman achievement. It was an Adelman family accomplishment. It’s a testament to the heights he has reached in his profession, the likes of which only seven others in history have attained, and his family being there every step of the way.
His children have grown up around basketball, dating back to his Portland days. They’ve known the game since the beginning, and were close by when Terry Porter and Clyde Drexler led the Trail Blazers to within a two wins of an NBA championship.
Today, two of his six kids are right by his side—and Porter’s, who is a Wolves assistant coach—and are able to take ownership in helping Rick reach this 1,000 win milestone from a professional level. R.J. has been an assistant under Adelman in Houston and is now the director of player personnel/game preparation for the Wolves, while David is a player development coach.
When Adelman met with owner Glen Taylor and the Wolves’ front office initially in 2011, family was part of the conversation. Adelman said one of the reasons Minnesota was an attractive situation for him was the fact that R.J. and David could be part of his staff, and he’d be able to work side-by-side with them.
“Even when we interviewed, that was one of the things we talked about—the importance of not only the family for me but family for him,” Taylor said. “That’s one of the things that I think drew us together for this job, and so we talked about having his sons here and how we might utilize their skills, and I think it worked out really well for us all.”
R.J. has shown he has skills in both the coaching and front office aspects of the sport. He has found his niche in addressing and developing talent, and he’s spent much of the past few weeks traveling and assessing prospects.
David works tirelessly with players before and after practice helping develop areas of their game that need extra work. He’s not only skilled in the player development aspect of the game, but he has the demeanor and knowledge of the sport that translated well when he handled head coaching duties at Summer League in July—something he honed as a high school head coach in Oregon. That’s a good combination to have, and I’m excited to see where his career takes him as a coach down the road.
However long Rick Adelman coaches or wherever R.J. and David end up in the league 10, 20 or 30 years from now, one thing they’ll always take with them is this: They’re currently getting a rare opportunity in life to work together as a father, son and brothers. And on Saturday, they experienced a rare milestone together not only as family but also as partners in this organization.
There have only been seven other 1,000th wins in NBA history. The chances any of us on hand last night seeing another 1,000th win in our lifetimes is small, so for the Adelmans to be together on this night was such a memorable thing.
“It’s just extremely special,” David Adelman said. “You know, we’ve been around him the whole time, the whole career. And just for our family, he’s always been about family. So it was cool to see my mom down there. It’s just a great accomplishment.”
For those who have been around the team, including the players and other assistant coaches, the achievement is doubly special knowing how invested his family is as a whole in this organization and helping them succeed.
“For him, for his family, I think that’s huge to get. And like I said, he deserves it,” Ricky Rubio said. “He’s one of the best, if not the best, coach I’ve ever had, and I only can say good things. And it’s not because I want to because he’s my coach now. I’m going to say the same thing 20 years later.”
All of us who have witnessed Rick Adelman coach this Wolves team over the past two years will be saying the same thing 20 years later, too. He’s a masterful coach, a patient leader and a basketball innovator. And knowing he was able to reach this win total with his family by his side, it’s a special moment that this organization will forever be able to cherish.
“Now that's done you think about all the years and everything else. It's pretty special,” Rick Adelman said. “This has been a difficult year. You have to give credit. You have to thank Glen, David and the whole organization for staying behind me because it was a tough situation. There was never a doubt that I was going to be able to do what I thought I needed to do because of their support."