Friday’s matchup with the Detroit Pistons was special for Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham, who won the 2004 NBA championship with Detroit in his playing days.
Ham was part of the gritty Pistons team that featured Richard Hamilton, Chauncey Billups, Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace — coached by the great Larry Brown. Ham often highlights how the lessons he learned during his time in Detroit have impacted his coaching career and style, emphasizing sacrifice and accountability of players.
Before L.A.’s 128-121 win over the Pistons, Ham credited Brown, his former coach, for making him the coach he is today. “Being with Coach [Larry] Brown, he and I still communicate very often, shoutout to Larry Brown,” he said.
“It shaped me just based on the ideology of trying to get better every day and play the right way. Those are the two phrases that would come out of his mouth constantly. Try to get better every day and if you do when you’re out on the court as a collective [group], you got to play the right way on both sides of the ball.
“So being blessed enough to be from Michigan, that was my hometown favorite team, and then to go on and win a championship with them and then still be in contact with Ben, Sheed, Chauncey, all of my other brothers on that team, it’s a blessing. And just that time of seeing how hard Larry worked, seeing how much he cared, whether you were the first guy on the team or the 15th, he always wanted to check in and make sure you were doing everything in your power.”
Ham also revealed the most recent message he received from Brown was about staying true to himself. “One text he sent me recently, I want to say it was like last week, it may have been a few days ago, but just to be myself,” the Lakers head coach said.
“Be complimentary, a great human being, hard worker, and all of that. Overcoming so much in my life and then at this level, just standing for the right things and always being about the group. He just told me don’t worry about your record, just keep showing up every day and trying to give the team your best effort and encourage them to do the same.
“It’s great, man. You get a guy of his stature, the type of guy he is, to have him in your corner, he’s just one of several people that I can lean on and tap into as a great resource. It goes without being said that I’m totally blessed and honored to have those type of relationships, specifically with him as well.”
Ham ‘excited’ to see Dennis Schroder return from thumb injury
Ham seemingly took Brown’s advice to heart, showing love and support for Dennis Schroder after the German playmaker’s season debut on Friday. Schroder struggled on the offensive end in the win over the Pistons after missing a month of games due to a thumb injury.
However, Ham said he is “excited” to have the 29-year-old — with whom he worked on the Atlanta Hawks between 2013-2018 — back with the team and confident he’ll get his rhythm back soon. “He’s like a family member for me, just being with him since he first stepped foot in the league and now being able to reconnect with him with the LakeShow,” Ham said.
“I’m super duper excited because I know once he does get comfortable with what we’re doing, that thrust that Russ provides off the bench, what Dennis is gonna bring once he gets submerged and really, really comfortable in rhythm, it’s gonna be a lot to deal with when you face the Lakers.”
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