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Limelight Is Not for Adelman

June 01, 2002|Elliott Teaford

Phil Jackson coached the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships and the Lakers to two. He's renowned as the "Zen-master," a man who seems to epitomize cool in a city where style is often confused for substance.

Rick Adelman coached the Portland Trail Blazers to the finals twice in the early 1990s, losing both times, including once to Jackson's Bulls.

Adelman's image is somewhat more difficult to define than Jackson's, if for no other reason than he doesn't appear to have one.

One reason could be that Adelman shuns the limelight.

"I respect all my coaches in different ways," Vlade Divac said of playing for Adelman, who has the Kings within a victory of their first finals appearance since 1951, when the franchise was based in Rochester, N.Y., and known as the Royals.

"Rick is No. 1 on my list. I'd love to play for him any time. He's a winner. He's someone that you trust and believe in. I can't describe it."

Divac also said Adelman doesn't seem to care to know the opinion of his coaching or of his teams from outsiders.

"For his players, yeah, he cares what they say," Divac said. "For everyone else, no. I don't think he cares. He's our hero."

Backup center Scot Pollard said of Adelman, "He's a players' coach. I like playing for him a lot, I really do. I think he pays attention [to the opinion of others]. I know he doesn't read the papers. But he values what we think of him more."


Adelman was cagey with reporters when asked whether he would start Peja Stojakovic, an All-Star with a bum ankle, for the first time in this series. Stojakovic sprained his right ankle May 9 and played for the first time against the Lakers in Game 5 on Tuesday.

"There will be five guys out there," Adelman promised.

When the game began, the Kings' starting five was the same as it has been since Game 1--Hedo Turkoglu and Chris Webber at the forward positions, Mike Bibby and Doug Christie at the guard spots and Divac at center. Stojakovic, as he did in Game 5, filled a reserve role.


The Kings, even after their Game 6 loss, are 5-2 away from the din of Arco Arena, where their home-court advantage was expected to carry them at least as far as the Western Conference finals. The Kings are 5-3 at home in the postseason.

Asked for a reason behind the Kings' road success, Adelman said, "We're a more consistent team than in the past. We never get ourselves out of a game. We're always right there. We're good when the game's close."

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