Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham has taken one of the most difficult jobs in basketball in his first job as the head of an NBA team’s coaching department.
Since the league’s establishment, the Lakers franchise has been synonymous with success. It produced the NBA’s first dynasty in the George Mikan-led Minneapolis Lakers. And it redefined basketball in the 1980s, making it more than a sport during the “Showtime” era.
During home games, 17 championship banners hang from the Crypto.com Arena rafters — tied with the Boston Celtics for the most NBA titles won by a single franchise — reminding visitors that winning is central to Lakers exceptionalism. But Ham has said he isn’t intimidated by the challenges that lay ahead of him as the team’s head coach.
“I grew up in Saginaw, Michigan. I was shot in the face by accident, April 5, 1988. You go through something like that, it’s going to do one of two things: It’s going to make you fearful or fearless,” Ham said during his introductory press conference. “It made me fearless. I don’t feel no pressure. It’s basketball.
“We’ll talk about some of our military representatives across the sea fighting for our democracy, that’s pressure. This here is a challenge, and it’s something that can be navigated.”
Ham then added he feels confident of success with the support of the Lakers’ leadership and the talent on the roster. He also emphasized everyone’s determination to bring another title to L.A.
“We have a great partnership, me and Rob, that’s gonna grow and continue to build,” he said. “We got a great ownership group, we have great people around our building, great people involved in our personnel decisions. I look forward to it. I talked to LeBron my first day in the gym and I wanted to start training him the next day, I got so excited. Just to hear his excitement over the phone is like, man!
“And to see Russ, and see AD, and talk to Russ, these guys — they’re not great by mistake and they want to be able to do something, and I know all of them feel this way, they want to be able to do something collectively that’s great. Put another banner in this building and it starts right now.
“So that’s just a challenge. I’ve seen real pressure, so to me this is fun. This is something that’s gonna be joyful, something we’re gonna look back on and remember these days when we’re popping bottles of champagne somewhere celebrating another banner going up.”
Phil Hand & Quinton Crawford reportedly join Ham’s coaching staff
As Ham has started to assemble his staff, reports claim Phil Handy and Quinton Crawford will remain with the Purple and Gold as the new head coach’s assistants.
Handy is widely considered to be one of the best assistants in the league after winning the NBA championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Toronto Raptors, and the Lakers.
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