The Brooklyn Nets on Monday formally introduced Lionel Hollins as their new head coach, replacing Jason Kidd who left the organization last week to take the Bucks' head coaching job. NY1's Budd Mishkin filed the following report.
Another year, another new coach for the Nets. With the Jason Kidd saga now clearly in the rear view mirror, Brooklyn turns to former player and former Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins, 60, who has had quite a week.
"I'm trying to get back to people. I text one person and they want to text and have a conversation. And then the phone calls started. I don't know how many of you have gotten my home number, I mean my cell number. But you can best bet it will be changed," Hollins said.
Hollins served as an assistant coach for years before finally getting his chance with Memphis in 2009. He was let go in 2013 and sat out the past season. There is clearly a sense of perspective about the man.
"People ask me, 'How are you going to do in New York, it's a big city.' I know who I am. You guys won't be happy with me every night and I know that. And you'll be trying to tell me what to do. I know that. But I won't be listening so it won't matter," Hollins said.
Hollins has known the joy of winning. His teams in Memphis made the playoffs and as a player he won a championship with the Portland Trailblazers in 1977. But he has also known the experience of not being in the game and not knowing if he was going to get back into the game.
"It's just life,' said Hollins. "This is a very important part of my life but it's not the only part of my life. And it's certainly not the biggest part of my life."
The Nets likely did not expect to be in this position one year after hiring Jason Kidd. But after Kidd reportedly sought greater power in the organization, which he denies, there was no way he was going to return to coach in Brooklyn. And the Nets contacted Hollins immediately.
"If you watched his teams in Memphis, they always played hard, they were disciplined, great defense and they just got better every year," said Nets General Manager Billy King.
"I'm humbled as well by the fact that I have been out of the NBA for a year. I've been out before. And as one gets older you don't know if there is opportunity going to come back around again. To have this opportunity is truly a blessing," Hollins said.