Are you struggling to compete against superstar competitors or struggling to manage superstar players within your organization? 11 Year NBA Player and 24 Year NBA basketball coach, Paul Pressey shares what it’s like to coach Kobe Bryant and to play against Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird.
Not Getting it and has the three point opportunity. Are you struggling to compete against a superstar? Competitors are struggling to manage superstar players within your own organization. Will on today’s show, the 11 year NBA Player and 24 year NBA basketball coach Paul Pressey shares what it’s like to coach Koby Bryant and to play against Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
All right, thrive nation. Welcome back to the conversation of is the thrive time show on your phone, your
radio, and as of the time of today’s show, Dr z, the thrive time show hit number one of all podcasts. Wow. In the world. That is incredible. Even right now, if we pull it up on itunes at the big screen behind you there, Joe are behind you there. Dr. C dot, you’ll see we are now number one in the world. How many are there? There’s what, 530,000 podcasts in the world. Wow, and that’s in the business category. Now, if we were to go and look under different categories, if you just go to podcasts on itunes right now and you look for top podcast and we just go all categories there. We are number one in the. Wow. My mom has done a really good job at downloading the podcast. I guess. Good job. Thanks. Mom knew she was, you know, she was looking, Robertson’s can download all day long.
So she’s been dedicated now to celebrate this epic when we had to bring on a great guest today, we had to bring on a guest to bring on an epic, an epic guests. So let me give the guests a clue as to who we have on today’s show here. This man has coached Koby Bryant. Ooh, okay. Who could it be? Could. It could be several gloves. Phil Jackson, Phil Jackson. Who could it be? He’s also coached Chris Paul. Oh Wow. He’s also played with and coached with David Robinson and I believe if the, if the information that I have devoured and preparation, maniacal preparation for today’s show because that’s the way you do it. He’s also coached at Grant Hill, so this guy has coached a lot of the top ballers and the history of the NBA. In fact, this guy coached for 24 years in the NBA and he was a player in the NBA for 11 years. If I’m correct. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome onto the show Mr Paul Pressey.
Clay, I’m awesome man. Thank you for having me here man. It’s good to see you again.
Are you aware that you coached in the NBA for 24 years and played for 11? So that’s 35 total if you do the math.
Yes. Yes. I’m very well. They knew I was still working.
Alright, well I want to,
I want to ask you this, Paul Pressey, uh, you know you played between 1982 in 1983 and your books jacket is on the wall over there. Thank you by the way, for giving it to my dad. So it’s on the wall.
I see it over there. Ain’t a whole lot of those still around.
So from 82 to 83 you play, do you were a two time all defensive team member. Okay. So you were a lock down defender, you played the University of Tulsa, you are known as a defensive specialist. Also many say that you were the inventor of the point forward position. Could you share what the point forward position was and maybe how you were one of the first guys to, to bring the tip to play that position?
It was basically, you know, Don Nelson was my coach, uh, they are in Milwaukee and he drafted me, but, uh, you know, he had a lot of office of guys, shooters at the time and um, you know, for me, uh, the first duty was, you know, hey rook I want you to do for me. And I go, well, yeah, uh, he said what? I said, uh, you know, be a playmaker, get the ball to your shooters, defend and run the court. And he puzzled, you know, you just Kinda had that look on their face and goes, well, okay then,
yeah, out on the court. But, uh, I to that position,
this is basically a running to the point guard responsibilities from the small forward position. And uh, I was able to do that for him for five years. I played for, for no Don Nelson.
And I’ve heard people such as Scotty pippin reference that you’re one of the first guys to bring the ball up court at your height, uh, being a forward six seven, is that correct?
No, I with six. Five, six, five. But I play bigger. Big Wingspan. Yes, yes, yes. Seven, seven feet wing span
I was just wondering, Paul Pressey, 35 years in the NBA. That’s a, that’s a, that’s a long time. What was your favorite Gig? Was that when you’re playing, when you were coaching and what team and what was that favorite season like? You’re like, this is at a 35 years. That’s my number one season, my rookie year. Really. And why is that? Wow. You know, Watson and all these games all your life on top. And we played Boston in the first round. Oh yeah. During that time, you know, you had it was best out of five and we sweep Boston now. That’s pretty awesome. And I’m going, wow, this guy, this is, was going to be for the rest of my career. So it was awesome. My, my rookie year, uh, plan into playoffs against the flesh. You got paid, right? I mean, you’ve got your life, you got a little money in your pocket and walk around and live. And it was, I have to imagine. Absolutely. Imagine good for you. Well, that’s fun. Rookie year. That’s pretty cool.
We’re known obviously as a defensive specialist and so therefore you had to guard guys like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and again, you’re your forward. So I’m not sure if you know who they matched you up against, but I imagine you had to have gone against Larry Bird a couple of times. Maybe they has asked you to shut down magic. Who was the toughest assignment that you were given? All those guys you are talkative. Stay is shut down. You just try to contain them. You go, there you go. It was a containment situation, but basically, you know, when you’re playing against the, all the, all the superstars, if you will. Uh, my, my biggest responsibility is to contain them and make them take tough shots and drain them a little bit, you know, throughout the game and hopefully in the fourth quarter they don’t have the same energy. But those guys were an awesome challenge for me as a young player coming in and have it goes against those guys like bird and magic and even a Bernard King guys at Georgia
Garvin. I thought all those guys, all the finger roll off the back bolt. Now let’s go one by one. Let’s go. Larry Bird here. Larry and I, you’re not saying this, I’m saying this Larry super dirty trash talking bird. Larry Bird that did talk to. No, no, he didn’t talk well, you know, trash today and trash back then was, is totally different. Now it’s just a string of four letter words strung together and sort of like a guys back. Then we’re having fun talking and the fun talk was more like a fall. Don’t backup too far. I totally don’t Swish. That was Kinda the, the, the trash talk. Now it’s more of like your mother jokes. It was kind of like, man, get up off, you know, they gone and fighting at each other and this was more a competitive nature of a, I ain’t gonna say friendly, but just a grind of competition now.
Uh, Dennis Rodman in his book, a bad as I want to be. He’s talking about guarding Larry Bird. And he said, well, he’s on the Pistons. Dennis Dennis Rodman said he could shut down a lot of guys. He could contain a lot of guys. He said Larry Bird made him so frustrated because he said Larry Bird was so slow, he couldn’t jump and it didn’t make sense, but he always knew to move. He always had the move. Is there a guy that you always had to move against? Like is there a guy that you could just always shut down for whatever reason? I mean, maybe you were playing over your head, but every time you played that guy you can shut them down. No, no, because I knew 90 percent of the guys moves the moves. I knew the moves. Okay. But when you get to that tab and level of players, they had countermoves you cut off, right? They go left, they go lift. What made Larry so awesome. Talk to me about Larry’s moves. What was, what was the Larry Bird move? That’s
the biggest thing was when he was six, nine any can you just shed. So he didn’t have to be fast, quick. He could just turn him, turn around with the ball up so high. Absolutely. He shot. So very crafty. He knew exactly what he wanted to do and probably the biggest thing in my opinion with Laurie because, you know, I would always go to the gym early and the work ethic that guy would have, he would be in the gym by himself. We’re get over early and we can’t get in because he’s in the gym shooting before game. Uh, so when you think about the ability that he had the natural bolted. But the work ethic is incredible and I think that made the difference in the game when it became on the line. He said the reason why I should take the last shot because I shoot an extra thousand shots and everybody else
Who, who, who was tougher to garden magic Johnson or Larry Bird and why?
Uh, I think they were both very tough. I can’t split the two because what makes it very hard when you have a magic Johnson or a bird is because the guys they had around them, you couldn’t concentrate just on one guy. For example, when bird gave up the ball, he was still a dangerous player. Magic gave up the ball. Still a dangerous player. So when you are defensive player and you gotten those guys and I think you’re at a ball, you go, you exhale in bone layup, boom, wide open shot. So you had to concentrate when ahead of the ball and then when they didn’t have the ball. And that made it very tough for me.
What about Michael Jordan going head to head against Michael Jordan because towards you wrapping up your career, 82, 83 a. and Michael really started getting into his prime kind of later eighties, you know? Uh, so did, did you ever go against Michael Jordan, one or head to head where you’re assigned to Guardian?
I, I, between him and Scotty back and forth depends on the rotation between myself and Moncrief, sitting in my pupils, my teammate as a, as a young rookie, and we will share duties. I will start out with pippin he had sought on Michael with flip flop. I take Michael here, takes Scotty. Um, so to me Michael was the type of player that you had to really concentrate on because he was relentless. He sent, he never got tired, uh, and you had to be in front of him all the time and make him be a jump shooter, but he was so good off the dribble, pull up, drive over to the basket. A footwork was unbelievable. Unbelievable.
Now you have to give you a four for 40 years is kind of a multiple choice question here. Dr. Z, a multiple choice question. I hate to ask. Uh, you know, you never want to paint a guest into a corner. I’m going to ask our guest a four part four part question, multiple choice. Here we go, we can handle it. He’s, he’s tough. What is the best player that you’ve ever, ever played against? Is it, is it, is it Michael Jordan?
Is it Magic Johnson?
Is it Larry Bird or is it another person? Is it, is it someone else?
Uh, so somebody else really. Who Was it? Bill Russell.
Bill Russell. I’d never played before your time, but I was gonna say those are possible,
you know, again, clay is those guys will, so I’m not going to say equal, but the way you had to play these guys was so a level ground and the concentration that took an energy took every night. Um, I don’t think it’s one of the other. I really don’t because they were such great players. Uh, and you can see now when those guys are retired and home with the kids and grandkids, they’re still great players in my opinion because they’re icons. When you become icons, you still are able to touch society and, and touch the social world to, uh, make a difference and give back to the communities. And I think those guys are still icons in that way.
Can you talk to me about the intensity of Dennis Rodman?
Because you were on his team there for a, for a year, right? Were you on his team or were you never coach? You coached him. Okay, let’s do this. Okay, let’s go there. So coaching Dennis Rodman talked to us about because he and his own book, bad as I want to be here. He explains the Dennis Rodman phenomenon. And he just talked about how he had this chip on his shoulder than a chip on that shoulder than a chip on that ship. And they talked to me about how could you, how did you work with him? Coach him? What was that like?
He was a very easy player to coach a sentinel because he saw things very simple. He didn’t make it complicated. Is Coach all the guy just good open, cut him off on this side and you know, we got it the next day. Go is, hey guys, you know, he held everybody accountable and I think that came from Detroit. Uh, everybody helped each guy daily to do your job. And when he came to San Antonio, that’s the way he thought. I mean he believed in, Hey, you do your job and I do my job and if, if it’s not working then and we all collectively get together and we’ll figure out something different. But meanwhile everybody do their job, we’re going to be fine. And so he had that same mindset when he worked out. He did this, this guy played 39 or 40 minutes and go right into the gym after the game and go lift for an hour unbelieved. That’s, that’s the mindset and the work ethic that he had. But he was all, he was. It was very different kind of player. And what I mean by that is he never felt like he was outnumbered. Every time he got on the court, he always thought, I had an upper hand and I’m going to show them I can do this.
I want to tap into zs. Wisdom and your wisdom on this. On the same question here, because there’s a lot of entrepreneurs out there. Okay, we’re really good at playing the games. He, there’s a lot of entrepreneurs who are really good at being an optometrist. That’s their skill direct. Very good at being a player in the game of basketball. They’re very good at doing a thing very good at a particular skill. That’s their craft. That’s their trade, but very few people can become a coach. Very few people can become a manager. You see very few entrepreneurs. The, I think everyone can do it, but a lot of people it’s pride or I don’t know what it is. So I want to start with UC. I want to ask you, when you went from figured Lee speaking, being the player as the optometrist or the one who saw every patient and you would say such weighty things as. Could you see that? Because can you see read that wrote to me? Read that. Wrote to me. Can you see better now? Can you see better now? When you put down the, the eye charts, when you put down the, uh, the, the, the, the scrubs and moved on to the next level where you began managing a team. Talk to me about the challenges of going from being a really good, very successful Allstar optometrist to becoming an all star coach fluidly speaking.
Yeah, and that’s, that’s why I think actually what happens in business and why Forbes has such a tells us there is such a high fail rate in businesses because someone does do their job well and then they figure, hey, I’m going to go work for myself now. And then they make that transition from whatever it is they’re doing to now being the boss or being the business owner and there was so much more to it. So you need to get mentorship, you need to read books, you need to study, you need to become, you need to understand what you don’t know. And that’s when the biggest problem because you think, well, okay, running an optometry business is a lot more than just being an optometrist. You know, coaching an NBA basketball team is a lot more than just knowing how to dribble and shoot. You can be really good at that, but you could fail as a coach.
You can be really good at whatever you fill in the blank, whatever your an employee yet today, currently and think, well, I’m going to do this on my own. I want to do this as my business, and I think that’s why I think that’s why clay were quite frankly, when the reasons why we’re number one in the itunes charts you just mentioned a little bit ago. I think it’s because people are hungry for that information. No one else is teaching it, right? People are hungry for that mentorship. People are hungry to be have, have the coach get coached, you know?
Well, here’s. Here’s one thing I see a lot of people. We start to manage a team. Okay, so we’re, we’re, we’re, we’re former player now, or an hour of manager. Now we’re a coach, right? And then you see somebody doing it wrong. Make it a. We get a whistle. You started to say, get out of here. Let me do it myself. Get, come on. Just give me the ball. Now in your case, Paul, you are so good. You retired from playing and you’re coaching on the Golden State Warriors and they’re like, hey, we got an injury. Paul Pressey, get in there and you’re like, what? I’m a coach. I mean, you came out of retirement to play a. What? 11 more games. Is that right after you
tired? God wanted you to come back and play right? They wanted you to come back. It was a lot, but that was part of the deal. When I went in, Don Nelson had a backup a little bit. I was in San Antonio plan coming up and Bria free agent and um, they have fire a light brown and Gregg Popovich was one of his assistants. And so man, I’m a free agent, pop unemployed. Uh, Don Nelson calls me a week later and says, Hey, press, what about that Popovich Guy? And I said, uh, he’s, he’s awesome. I said, you love him? I said, he’s a military mindset, no nonsense, etc. Etc. And uh, hE’s an okay. Week later he hires them, really calls me back two or three days later, hey press, what are you doing as well, coach? I’m trying to maybe play another year or two said, well, I got this position if you’re interested, and uh, we got some lead coming up in Utah and a couple of weeks. I said, okay. He sAid, well, tell you what, talk to her, what you and your wife talk it over, blah, blah, blah. Long story short, he said, he makes me to offer to be a coach if one of his players getting hurt here, activate me first. Or if somebody called me from overseas, he’ll let him out of my contract.
The old bill russell move kind of the player culture. Things happen. Wow. And uh, had the opportunity to go to Greece. I turned it
you down because you know, my kids was younger. I didn’t Want to leave my family. Not for at least one more year or so. And a player go down, hurt. He activate me. Who you think I play against the first game
Oh yes. I’m going to say if you’ve done your homework, you’ve mentioned one of these guy’s name, this guy name already the lakers disperse.
Not the team. A player, a player named them already. Larry Bird, magic johnson, Michael Jordan, Jordan, Jordan, first game, first game, back up, you know, I’m like, oh my god. And I realized after that night I said, this is the reason why that played it.
Talk to me about michael’s character on the court, because I love the nfl now. They have this really neat thing called nfl miked, which I watch pretty much every week, but they’ll, they’ll do is they’ll put the shotgun mics on your favorite team. Anybody can watch on youtube, just type in nfl miked and like the cowboys and their mike and now about every third game, every other game. And you can hear the chitter chatter. Um, some of the comments I like. Brett farve are just so funny. Brett farve is his last year on the vikings. He had so many funny comments like a guy just absolutely hits, hits him and he’s like, come on, you got to respect your old man. You don’t respect me. Come on. It’s like, it’s funny to hear those, those, uh, uh, calls. There’s another time during the game with his final year with the vikings were these rafts were trying to negotiate and figure out what the, what they’re going to call it, and so the reps go away to their own part of the field to discuss the call and watch the tape and to see if they’re going to rule it in bounds, right bounds and farve runs over to their side and he goes, well guys, what do you want to do?
Nike does that kind of stuff. He went into the defense of huddle one time and he says, here’s the deal. I’m gonna throw it. I’m going to air it out. All right, so, you know, he’s just like a got funny his last year when you’re work on the court, I just would like to hear kind of when your garden, Michael Jordan does, does he talk a lot? DId he talk a lot? Was he more of a quiet, intense guy? What was he like on the court court?
No, you can put, you can put Michael Bird magic a little bit. You could put about five or six during era if you will. Um, that will, that will do a little talking and it was like I said, it was more competition talking, uh, and fun talking like, you know, uh, don’t, don’t get too close. It’s going to be a layup, you know, those are the kind of conversation that those guys had a when it became a tit for tat, like detroit pistons against chicago when chicago was trying to break that wall, if you will.
The old double tap move daily. Yeah. They try your twice. They tried, yeah. They tried to get to the finals,
shifting winds, so they had to go through detroit and so you have some different kind of conversation going on with those two.
When I was researching, getting ready for the interview is structured, you have tried to go deep dive into my mid eighties, late eighties, nba history and z. One of the things that chuck daly created was this thing called the double tap. I don’t know if you guys referred to it when you were playing against him, but his theory was if somebody failed you, somebody else should go ahead on and tell you too. That way you get two hits for the price of one time Jordan would take it in, they had the Jordan rules and they would just try to hit that guy and uh, so it’s a different level of trash talking.
It was a different level. And, and I, and I thought, you know, at the time I didn’t take it as trash talk because the bottom line is if you say something to another player, then you better be able to back it up. You can’t just say something just because you think. Could you talk a lot? Were you talking about. No, I was a quiet assassin as they would say, a quiet assassin. So where the pistons were dated the 30th, is that was detroit the dirtiest team overall? No, no, no, no. That was a whole lot of the teams really for detroIt dirty was just because the rules were different. You know, you could hit, you could hole, you can elbow, you can punch a guy and you might get thrown out. Depends on how much,
how on a scale of one to 10 john stockton versus charles oakley, who was the dirtiest was it was john stockton as dirty as people on the tens. The most dirty ever. One’s not dirty at all. Was on a scale of one to 10. How dirty was john stockton?
I don’t think john was a dirty play. I thought he was a very physical for his size and a very smart political. understood what he could get away with at his side. Crafty in the way they played. They did a lot of picking. Yeah. Hard say with the small guys. And of course john was one of the leading guys to do that because he would always pick on malone. That was his screen. Your screen across and he could do whatever he wants. Cheap shots. But to me that was part of the game because at the end of the day you could do it the other end too. And uh, so, so, so that job was just the way we played. And at the end of the day when you play that way, everybody knew, hey, so you for getting those good for the geese. You
coached for 20 plus years, 24 years in the nba and the last couple of years you were coaching koby bryant. And I’d like to get into the mindset of coby brian. Obviously you coached him towards the end of his career, but how intense was koby bryant? I mean, talk about it compared to the rest of the lakers players. How intense was the black mamba?
Well, you know, it is that you and your own world. And he was in his own world and. But what was amazing about him is what will go practice for two or three days and you don’t see, you won’t see him. and he’ll come to a pseudo around. he would, he would come in and shoot around every once in awhile just to see what the other guys were doing, you know, how they were. And that was a role with you guys. He didn’t, you didn’t require them to be there all the time. and listen to me. And uh, he would just get ready here, coming to games and all of a sudden he’s will tell them, hey, we’re pushing sideline picking roles. We’re planning to post this way. JUst team does this. He said, coach, I got it. So we said, okay, well let’s test him sometime when he come in and we’ll say, well, a game plan tonight, colby, what, what do you think we should do?
And he will be right on every time because he’s already had like 16, 17 years in the league, played everybody that’s in there and he also get tapes videos sent to his home, three, four or five games before we play that team. So he was already prepared for the team but also new ats system and what we like to do offensively and defensively. So when he came In it was easy for him. So he was different in that way. Uh, because we couldn’t practice him, we couldn’t, we couldn’t because he couldn’t, he couldn’t handle a day of practice. He, um, he did it for two weeks for training camp. Then after that he just worked out on his own and work out on. So you look out to jim and his own. YeaH. Interesting. So that was the relationship that he had with ownership and the head coach, embarrassed guy who was his teammate as a rookie, uh, in la. They had that understanding and he’d never missed a beat.
Why am I fight my final question for you that due to lack of time here, I want to ask my final question before you go off to score b ball and, and talked to don about dominating basketball camps and clinics. Have, if your entire career as a coach, for any of the listeners out there who are managers or figurative coaches, what’s the best advice you could give to anybody out there who’s trying to manage a difficult to manage personality type as a coach who’s coached as long as you did in the nba? What advice would you have for somebody out there struggling to manage a difficult personality?
Well, you know, I think the first thing, you got to have a very good relationship with them and find out, okay, can we do this with this team, you know, can this, can these other players handle this? And did you come to a common ground of. Okay, uh, especially on a professional level, it’s totally different from collegic highschools because these are getting paid to play a certain way every night at a high level and you got to find, does this guy give us what we need every night even though he has these issues? Because from my understanding, you know, michael had michael rules, um, but colby was on his way out and he knew it and all he wanted to do to stay healthy and finish up this career. And that was probably one of the biggest reason why a byron scott and matt to say less manage him so we can get him through the season without getting hurt again because the two years that I was there with him, he was hurting the year before I got there.
And then he got hurt the year, the first year I was there. And then he was limping the last year, so we were just trying to get him through that year, so it was a little different situation when you have a player that are still healthy and trying to keep playing for another two or three years. A difficult a player, if you will. Um, he has a strong personality, very strong. And you got as a coach. One, my daughter has a dog. When I first got into coaching my first year, he said, the first thing you do is set your. If you got to your two best players in your office and say, this is what we doing, do you guys have any opinions? And you get their opinions and said, all right, we’re gonna. Meet at the middle and let’s make this work. And I need you guys to monitor the rest of these guys. And if you get that understanding and that will help you deal with those strong personalities,
that’s wisdom right there. That’s good wisdom. Right? That’s good. Paul Pressey I appreciate you being on this show. A strong, nice personality. You are one of the nicest people I know. You’ve been so kind to the, to the thrive nation. I appreciate you for coming onto the show today. And, uh, may you and dawn calbert have good time, have a good time over there at score b, ball and z. We always wanna in a show with a boom. So without any further ado, three, two, one, boom.