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Mike D'Antoni says Lakers staff should remain intact

Part 3 of an exclusive interview with The Times' T.J. Simers reveals that the new Lakers coach does plan to add his brother, Dan, to the coaching staff and intends to talk to Nate McMillan this summer.

November 13, 2012|By T.J. Simers
  • Mike D'Antoni, shown coaching the New York Knicks in 2011, says he became a Lakers fan because of Jerry West.
Mike D'Antoni, shown coaching the New York Knicks in 2011, says he… (Jeff Gross / Getty Images )

A few more tidbits following an early Tuesday morning interview with Mike D’Antoni, the Lakers’ new head coach:

-- He says his brother, Dan, will be joining the Lakers’ coaching staff but the rest of the staff should remain intact.

-- He hasn’t talked to defensive-minded coach Nate McMillan, but he says he intends to this summer, although he wouldn’t be surprised if McMillan is head coach by that time elsewhere.

-- In D’Antoni’s first start as an NBA player for the Kansas City-Omaha Kings his assignment was to cover Jerry West.

“I was the biggest Lakers’ fan because of him,’’ says D’Antoni, who grew up in Mullens, W.Va.

-- He’s recovering from reconstructive knee surgery, leaving the hospital shortly after Sandy rocked the East Coast and left many without power. He had to take a bed in a retirement home.

“Here I am in my 60s, my wife thinking I like board games and Jell-O. I was worried when the electricity came back on she might just leave me there,’’ he says.

--How does someone with a 121-167 record with the Knicks, who failed to win a playoff game there, end up with the Lakers’ job?

“There is a thing called luck in this world,’’ he says.

-- When D’Antoni was a sophomore at Marshall University, he lost 20 athletic dorm-mates in a plane crash that killed 75.

“My brother, who was close to the football coach, still hasn’t been able to watch the ‘We Are Marshall’ movie they made,’’ he says.

-- His dad, a legendary high school basketball coach in West Virginia, will turn 99 this New Year’s Eve. He once said of his son, “He does a great thing with people; that’s his No. 1 thing.’’

D’Antoni laughs, “Yeah, as I’ve been run out of two or three towns.’’

--A few years back, Sports Illustrated listed the top 50 athletes in West Virginia history. West was No. 1, Mary Lou Retton No. 2 and D’Antoni No. 43.

“I think I was behind a couple of horses,’’ he says.

Now let’s hope he’s just as entertaining when he starts coaching.

ALSO:

Phil Jackson gets call from Lakers and it's not what he expected

Lakers players surprised but enthused by hiring of Mike D'Antoni

It's unanimous: Lakers' selection of Mike D'Antoni over Phil Jackson is wrong

t.j.simers@latimes.com 

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