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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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

 

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

Follow: Facebook | Twitter | Google+

Subscribe: iTunesRSS | Website

Feedback: e-mail (audio welcome) | Voicemail