There may not be an NBA figure that has experienced a crazier calendar year than that of Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni. After the former New York Knicks coach endured a difficult start to the 2011-2012 lockout-shortened season, the former Nuggets and Suns boss was a firsthand witness to the phenomenon known as “Linsanity.” D’Antoni’s roller coaster ride with Jeremy Lin began with seven-straight electrifying victories and concluded amid a six-game losing skid, which also happened to coincide with the return of New York’s omnipresent superstar Carmelo Anthony.
On March 14, D’Antoni’s 3.5-season NYC tenure came to an abrupt end, when the West Virginia native resigned from his position. The Marshall alum's stint with the Knicks resulted in a record of 46 games below .500, with one playoff appearance.
Fast-forward to November 12, the former Knicks coach suddenly found himself right back in the pressure cooker, upon agreeing to a three-year/$12 million deal to coach the three-ring circus, also known as the LA Lakers. After the termination of Mike Brown and the tormenting of Phil Jackson, D’Antoni assumed the helm of a team that had generated more news in two weeks, than most organizations produce in two decades.
Heading into Friday’s game with the Los Angeles Clippers, the 61-year-old coach sits squarely at .500, thus far, posting a 9-9 record.
Friday, six hours prior to tipoff of the LA Versus LA battle at Staples Center, iFolloSports.com captured original video of D’Antoni pulling over his Audi A8L, to sign autographs and pose for photos with Lakers fans stationed outside the Toyota Sports Center, LA’s El Segundo (CA) practice facility. D’Antoni’s laidback style and “West Virginia twang” were on full display during the above interaction.
In addition to preparing for the evening’s clash with the Clippers, the recently minted Laker coach found himself in the news on Friday, when responding to disparaging comments offered by Amar’e Stoudemire, who played for the coach at both Phoenix and New York.
Such is the life of a man who has elected to run the preeminent franchises of our nation’s two largest media markets (Lakers, Knicks). Simply put, there is no such thing as a carefree day in those worlds.