With Jason Kidd leaving his spot on the Los Angeles Lakers bench to become the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks, the franchise needed to make an addition to the coaching staff this past summer. They would turn to longtime NBA assistant and former head coach of the New York Knicks David Fizdale to fill that role.
Not only is Fizdale an extremely respected voice among the NBA world and has a great relationship with Lakers superstar LeBron James, but he is also a Southern California native who attended Fremont High School in Los Angeles.
Growing up in Southern California, there was no question as to who Fizdale was supporting growing up. The Lakers assistant revealed in an interview with Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group that his family was raised on the purple and gold:
“Top to bottom, we were raised Laker,” Fizdale said of his family. “And so for them, it’s a real treat to see me with these guys and to have a chance to win a title.”
Being born in 1974, Fizdale was able to witness the Showtime era led by Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy in all of its glory during his formative years. When that is the hometown team you’re supporting it is easy to fall in love with them.
Now Fizdale is part of the team he grew up loving for the first time and it is a different experience. This is Fizdale’s first job since his time with the Knicks and now coming back as an assistant once again, he sees things differently:
Now he jokes to Lakers head coach Frank Vogel: “I went from being the decision-maker to being the suggestion box.” But now that he knows the gravity of a head coach’s choices and how tricky balancing assistants’ voices can be, he tries to bring a sense of order to his communication.
“As assistants, we get so creative and see all these great things, but Coach is getting suggestions from eight, nine guys, so he’s gotta juggle all of them,” he said. “So really understanding, ‘How do we keep his head clear? How do we get ahead of Coach sometimes so he doesn’t have to ask for it?’ Anticipating ahead of time, ‘Coach will probably need this.’”
The Lakers have a lot of growing to do and chemistry to establish and for a team with so many new pieces, every single voice from every player and coach will be essential to success. Fizdale is someone who can bring a lot to this team and he will undoubtedly be motivated to bring his hometown team back to championship level.
Lakers represented by 18 players on NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team
The NBA released its top 75 players of all time in honor of its 75th Anniversary and as expected, the Lakers were well represented on the list.
Overall the franchise had 18 players on the list, led by the likes of Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal and Jerry West, among many others.