Ettore Messina joins Woj
San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina joins The Vertical Podcat with Woj. Messina, a legendary European coach, discusses what it’s like to work with Gregg Popovich and immerse himself into the unique Spurs culture. Messina talks about his years as Dean Smith’s interpreter on the Carolina coach’s trips to Italy and his years coaching Micheal Ray Richardson in Italy after his banishment from the NBA for substance abuse. Messina talks about his desire to become the first European-born and raised NBA head coach and what the distinct differences are between coaching in Europe and the United States. Here are some key moments: 2:17: How Messina’s views about basketball have evolved with the Spurs. 4:20: The differences between the Euroleague and NBA. 6:51: The benefits of being an assistant and getting to know the league. 8:42: How Popovich uses team dinners to bond with players and create a unique team culture. 12:40: Messina’s relationship with Manu Ginobili. 19:04: Falling in love with the game of basketball as a child in Italy. 20:50: How visiting American coaches, including Dean Smith, helped his development. 24:17: The Spurs’ focus on fundamentals and execution. 25:38: How Popovich’s Spurs compare to Smith’s Carolina teams in terms of taking social stands. 28:20: Coaching Michael Ray Richardson after he was banned from the NBA. 33:35: Messina coaching against Kobe Bryant’s father in Italy. 35:00: What he learned from being around all-time greats like Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan. 37:42: How he decided to coach in Russia. 40:16: Mikhail Prokhorov’s hand-off ownership style. 42:40: The opportunity to become the first European-born head coach in the NBA. 45:11: Popovich’s respect for international basketball and his popularity overseas.
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About The Show
Adrian Wojnarowski, the most dominant force in NBA reporting, brings you inside the league with The Woj Pod. Woj is probing the biggest newsmakers in the sport – from the commissioner, to general managers, coaches and star players – to bring listeners inside the processes, personas and stories that impact the NBA. Beyond longer sit-down interviews in our New York studios, Woj will deliver real-time podcasts with league personnel built around breaking news.