AIR055: Todd Spehr – Drazen: The Remarkable Life and Legacy of the Mozart of Basketball | Podcast

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Todd Spehr - Drazen Petrovic biographer

Drazen Petrovic biographer, Todd Spehr.

Personally, this is an extra-special episode. My great friend of almost fifteen years, Todd Spehr, just released a biography on the life and times of Drazen Petrovic. I invited another great mate of mine (and NB85 co-host), Aaron, to also chat with Todd, earlier this week.

For more than three years, Todd has been consumed with the life of Drazen Petrovic. Thanks to exhaustive research – he interviewed over 70 people – the resulting book offers comprehensive coverage of Drazen’s incredible rise from Europe to the NBA. It is a book of stories, told by those who knew Petrovic best. Drazen blazed a trail (no pun intended) and was a pioneer for Europeans in the NBA, including Sarunas MarciulionisArvydas SabonisStojko Vrankovic, Vlade Divac, Toni Kukoc, Dino Radja & Peja Stojakovic, to name just a few.

We discuss behind-the-scenes details of the book, including the interview process, the depths of Todd’s research and countless hours of game film (some, never seen before) he studied, giving him a unique insight on a player who was already a legend in his native country, before he set foot in the United States of America.

To borrow a quote from the book’s promotional materials, ‘Drazen is a tribute to the determination and spirit Petrovic brought to every aspect of his short, brilliant life’.

Watch the Google Hangout below – recorded live on April 6, 2015 – or, should you prefer the audio-only version (above, or via your podcast app of choice), you’ll hear an edited version of the conversation.

 

 

Links to topics discussed:

Amazon: Drazen – The Remarkable Life & Legacy of the Mozart of Basketball

Excerpts of ‘Drazen’: Sports Illustrated | Yahoo’s Ball Don’t Lie: Part I / Part II

Website: Book of Drazen | Facebook: Todd’s FB Page | CreateSpace

 

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AIR033: Joe Wolf – High School All-American, UNC star and NBA veteran | Podcast

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High School All-American, University of North Carolina star and NBA veteran, Joe Wolf.

We discuss EuroBasket 2013, where Joe was an assistant coach to Mike Fratello, steering Ukraine to a sensational 6th place finish; earning the team a guaranteed spot in the 2014 FIBA World Cup. Joe talks about his amazing high school basketball career, where he was (2005) named Wisconsin’s greatest ever player. He discusses his career at North Carolina, playing alongside greats of game, including Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins, Brad Daugherty and Kenny Smith. We also learn Joe’s whereabouts, on the day he was drafted into the NBA, in 1987. We break down his 11-year NBA career, his years coaching in the (now defunct) CBA and NBA D-League and five seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks; culminating last season, as the lead assistant to Scott Skiles.

Thanks again, to former guest on this podcast, Bob Hill – he was pivotal is helping make this conversation come to fruition. Many thanks, Bob.

 

Links to topics discussed (more added soon):

Statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference | Profile | ‘Retro Joe’

EuroBasket 2013: Tournament Wrap | Formula of Success

1987: NBA Draft | 1996: Joe’s arrival to Orlando

 

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AIR032: Mike Fratello – NBA Coach of the Year, TV Broadcaster and The Czar of the Telestrator | Podcast

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NBA Coach of the Year, TV Broadcaster and The Czar of the Telestrator, Mike Fratello.

We discuss EuroBasket 2013, where Mike coached Ukraine to a fantastic 6th place finish; securing the team a spot in the 2014 FIBA World Cup. We then revisit Mike’s high school years, where he was a star athlete. He talks about his foray into coaching and the opportunities that would lead him all the way to the NBA. We talk about his intrinsic links to Hall of Fame legend, Hubie Brown.

Mike opens up on the re-building process that led the Hawks’ to four-consecutive 50-win seasons. We chat about his 1986 Coach of the Year season and he tells a fascinating story about how he helped motivate Dominique Wilkins, to reach even greater heights (literally and figuratively) as a player. We talk about the 1988 NBA All-Star Game, where he coached the Eastern Conference squad to victory.

Mike discusses his entry to the world of TV broadcasting, the origin of his classic nickname and relationship with the great Marv Albert and former guest of this show, Ian Eagle. You’ll also learn how Mike received a pair of game-worn, Shaquille O’Neal shoes, in unusual circumstances. We get the inside scoop on Mike’s experiences with Michael Jordan, including his time alongside MJ, as a coach at the Michael Jordan Senior Flight School.

We talk about Mike’s six seasons coaching the Cleveland Cavaliers and his stint with the Memphis Grizzlies. Plus, we somehow find time to talk about the 2014 NBA season. An incredible array of topics are covered. Thank you, Mike Fratello!

Thanks to former guest on this podcast, Bob Hill – he was key to making my chat with Mike, happen. Many thanks, Bob.

 

Links to topics discussed:

Statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference | Profile

EuroBasket 2013: Tournament Wrap | Formula of Success

1984: Bench-jockeying, NBA Style

1988: NBA All-Star Game | Hawks v Celtics – NBA Playoffs (Game 7)

1993: O’Neal collapses Shaqboard | 2002: NBA on NBC | 2012: Mike Fratello & Ian Eagle

Mike Fratello online: WebsiteTwitter

 

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AIR031: Kenny Anderson – New York City royalty, NCAA legend and NBA All-Star | Podcast

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New York City royalty, NCAA legend and NBA All-Star, Kenny Anderson.

We talk about his childhood, playing basketball and how he handled the intense media spotlight in HS and college. He chats about his key role with Team USA, between his freshman and sophomore seasons at Georgia Tech. We delve into his NBA career, including the 1991 Draft, held in his native New York. Kenny talks about European legend and former teammate, Drazen Petrovic. We discuss his battles against Michael Jordan and Kenny provides ‘The Answer’, to a fan-submitted question. In 2014, Kenny is releasing a book – we chat about that, too.

Thanks to my friend and former guest on this podcast, Talani Goodson – he was instrumental in helping me connect with Kenny. Sincere thanks, Talani.

 

Links to topics discussed:

Statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference | Profile

1990 (NCAA): Anderson v HurleySE Regional Final | Georgia Tech v UNLV

1990 (FIBA World Championship): Bronze medal battle

1991 (NCAA): Kenny drops 50 | 1991: NBA Draft

1994: NBA All-Star Game | 1996: OT game-winner

2002: Celtics v Nets (ECF, Game 3)

Follow Kenny on Twitter

 

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AIR024: Drazen Petrovic – The Life and Times (Retrospective) | Podcast

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Adam and Todd discuss the life of Drazen Petrovic. June 7, 2013, marked the 20th anniversary of his tragic death. Todd authored the book, The Mozart of Basketball: The Remarkable Life and Legacy of Drazen Petrovic. This conversation also gives you an inside look at fascinating, untold, Petrovic stories.

 

Links to topics discussed:

Statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference | [select YT links, via Daniel]

Drazen Petrovic: Sibenka (1979-1983) | Cibona (1984-1988) | vs. Michael Jordan | Tribute

ESPN 30 for 30: Once Brothers

 

I appreciate all feedback, FB Page ‘Likes’ and iTunes ratings / reviews.

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Feedback: e-mail (audio welcome) | Voicemail