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Considered by some to be the best player to never make an NBA All-Star Game, Purvis Short enjoyed an impressive career with the Golden State Warriors. The fifth pick in the 1978 NBA Draft played his first nine NBA seasons with the Warriors and ranks seventh in franchise history with 11,894 points. His superb mid-range game and signature high-arcing jump shot was lethal for opponents. Short averaged 20-plus points for four-straight seasons beginning with the 1982-83 campaign and he ranked among the NBAís top 10 in scoring for three of them. During that stretch, he enjoyed his finest NBA performance, scoring 59 points against the Nets on November 17, 1984. Shortís playing days came to an end in 1992, but he has since remained active in the game as the NBPA Director of Player Programs.
Warriors.com (DotCom):Whatís been keeping you busy these last few years? Purvis Short (PS): For the last 19 years, Iíve been with the NBA Players Association working within our player program department. Primarily what weíre charged with is administering all of the programs and services that are provided to all NBA players. Programs such as career development, financial education, health education, etc.
DotCom:What was it like coming to the Bay Area for the first time? PS: Prior to getting drafted by the Warriors, I had never been to California and never been to the Bay Area. It was an eye opener. It was a wonderful experience that I had with the Warriors, the nine years that I was there. I met some wonderful people. The fans were just superb. I really enjoyed my time with the Warriors. I would like to give a shout out to Coach Al Attles. Al has always been my No. 1. He really did a lot to help me have the type of career that I had.
DotCom:Why does Al Attles have such a reverence and respect from his former players? PS: I think thereís a couple reasons. No. 1 is his character, his professionalism. Heís well-respected because heís a man of his word. What he says he means. Heís always been the type of person to try to help you in any way he can. You always knew what you were getting with Al. He always respected you as a person. He respected you as a player. So I think thatís why he has that type of reverence.
DotCom:You really didnít take a lot of 3-point shots, so I guess that makes you one of the last masters of the mid-range. PS: During my career, once the 3-point shot was implemented, it wasnít a big part of our strategy. We would use it in certain situations, but unlike today, it wasnít the type of situations where guys fired at will. My game was more of a mid-range type of game, and thatís what I tried to stick to.
DotCom:How did you get the type of rainbow arc on your jump shot? PS: Well it happened when I was in high school. My high school coach, Johnny Hurt, was a great fundamental teacher and he really stressed the fundamentals, particularly of shooting. He always tried to convey to us that to be a good shooter, not only did you have to have proper fundamentals, but you also had to be able to break your shot down. He was trying to get me to understand the fundamentals and get them to become second nature. Every day after practice, I would have to work on my shooting with him and he would take a broomstick and he would hold this broomstick in front of me and I would have to shoot over this broomstick many, many shots. I couldnít leave the gym every evening until I was able to make 15 to 20 shots in a row from 15 to 20 feet. This went on all through my high school career. So it just kind of laid the foundation for the type of shot that I carried with me through college and finally into the pros.
DotCom:There was a four-year run in the 1980s where you averaged more than 20 points a game. What happened that allowed you to take that step forward in your career? PS: One of the major things that happened was my work with Pete Newell. During the summers, I would spend a lot of time with Pete Newell. Pete ran the ĎPete Newell Big Man Campí where he taught fundamentals, mainly footwork fundamentals. When you watch the game today, thatís really one of the things thatís sorely lacking with todayís players. During that run, I finally got to the point where I really understood the importance of footwork. I really knew what fundamentals to use in various situations and it just really took my offensive game to another level.
DotCom:You played in only 18 playoff games in your 12-year NBA career. Did you ever think you were a little bit jinxed? PS: I donít look upon it as being jinxed in any way. As we all know, to consistently make the playoffs, you have to have a number of components. You have to have a number of players who are consistent contributors each and every night. In addition to that, you need a strong bench and more importantly, you got to have a great defense. We had good players, great players with the Warriors at times, but there were very few times where all the components came together. When they did, those were the times that we made the playoffs. Thereís nothing like it. It was a wonderful experience. I do wish it happened more, but Iím pleased with the way things turned out.
DotCom:What do you remember about your 59-point game against the Nets on November 17, 1984? PS: What I remember is that everything seemed much bigger. I felt during that period that I was in complete control of my offensive game. I really understood what I wanted to do, how I could execute it and then I perfected my shot to the point where I just felt if I had a good look at the basket, that was a shot that I was going to make or stood a very good chance of making. It was one of those rare nights where everything came together and itís just a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing.
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