Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard


Hey everyone welcome into another edition of the which pod Here in Washington D._C.. With the new general manager of the Washington Wizards Tommy Shepherd. How does that sound tally? You know I'm kind of looking around Pinson myself a little bit today. You know those titles thrown around. Obviously I'm very humble. I'm very grateful but let's be honest. The only title that matters the one Toronto as and that's really where this all all starts today was a great day as we we announce ourselves and move forward to the to the N._B._A.. into the rest of the basketball world what we're all about now we gotta go output action on the words and that's what the most exciting part is. There's a lot I wanna get to with you Tommy. I WANNA I start here. Though I Bradley beal. He's eligible to sign a three year extension July twenty six three years one hundred eleven million dollars dollars you can you can offer it to him Friday and that's your plan right. I think the biggest thing is for people to understand that's out of respect to Bradley that that's the first moment we can do that and we WanNa make sure he hears it from us. Our commitment to him has never wavered and I want to say this Bradley's commitment to US never wavered. It's been fantastic just to watch him since the season was over and how he was able to help us actively recruited to make sure Thomas Bryan new hey this is the place for you for Bradley step in and the draft room and look at the players that we were looking at and weigh in on things and being able to help Mr Leone sister this entire process and all his input. You know I think he's always felt the love and this is I promise promises is an internal business transaction that we're doing with Bradley but certainly to the world. We want everyone to understand that this foundation piece Bradley beal the person that he is. I think Monday he might be in the hall of fame and still be a better person but he's very much of everything we're trying to move forward and build around would involve brand so you go in there with him now and listen he can. He's got a lot of options you can do three or do one to. He can do nothing he can become all N._B._A.. He can make all N._B._A.. Next season and be eligible for a supermax he could do a big five year two hundred fifty million dollar deal that summary could do. He's at lots of options over the next couple of years or and talking to mark Bartlestein his agent. I know you've you've talked to mark. Ted Leonsis told me that he went and spent tie with mark last week to just lay out what his vision was here and how things were going to move forward with the front office and your his ation but Bradley Beal's twenty-six. He's in the primary his career. John Wall is probably GonNa miss all the next season with the Achilles injury and it's a roster around him. That's developing roster. You've got a lot of young players. You've got some assets. You've gathered up. You've got a first round. Pick who you're excited about but for a player who wants to win and wants to know he can win in Washington you're going to you tell Brad what now well I look at what happened today and all the commitment that you have to be successful in professional sports starts with a commitment from mm-hmm ownership. You can have the very best people if you don't have good owners. You're not going to be successful and the ownership group here. The partners Mr Leone says has involved I think that level of their commitment to being successful for the whole three sixty of player as been an unparalleled witness by their commitment today and the investments that they're making I would show Bradley we went full scale to make sure we have the very best healthcare full-scale to have the best team services full-scale to have the very best opportunities off the floor away from basketball life after basketball. All those things besides what you already are familiar with which we've had success. Your Bradley came here. He's a two-time all star. He definitely last season felt the pressure when John Wall went down with an injury Bradley carried the team. He earned that all star trip himself. You know we didn't have a lot of help around him. At that time we went through a lot of changes through it. All Bradley was always always anchor. Always somebody that absolutely Salihi what can I do. How can I help this team and I think we want to always applaud that we want to recognize that and that's certainly on July twenty six? That's just that's when the calendar tells us the first moment we can offer this extension to them. Then we sit back and what we have to do is show Bradley Bradley every single day. This is the place for you for your future and one day you look in those rafters and hopefully we see your number up there and we're going to celebrate a title that you help bring here. Though that's the vision we have to lay out but we have to show them that their words okay. That's one thing thing but actions behind that words. That's the only way this is going to move. He's got two years left on his deal. You know in this league Tommy when people sense blood in the water. I think you would know better than anybody. I'm not sure there's a player who people WanNa pick up the phone as much and knock on your door and see if he's available or see what it might take. I know a lot of that went on this off season and by every con I've got they were all Todo. Thank you does exactly we it for me and I've never had any problem ignoring the noise that goes on around us. We just put our head down the job that's asked to do you know we've identified Bradley as a cornerstone to this franchise right there with John Wall John Wall. He earned that supermax contract injury injuries. Don't care what you make or who you are they happen and that took John off the floor in that certainly changed the way we were able to play and Bradley adapted and Rosen and did a fantastic job. We have to put more town on the floor next to him. I think this summer was a nod to that. We had to Kinda reboot right. We had to go get some younger players start to develop players that we can put around him and we had to reset our financial future to make sure that we have opportunities to add players in the future major players through the agency the B. Hopefully be able to reward all the players that we develop and have a plan. That's discernible not just us not just to players to our fans. They see that hey this makes sense. Each transaction I think in in the future we'll all make sense as we explain to people this is what we're all `bout and the ability for us to deliver a really exciting brand of basketball to the DC fans. They've already seen what Bradley beal can do and I think they saw some from what Thomas Brian was able to do now. It's up to Rui. It's up to admiral to come in as young players improve proved their worth the players we acquired through trade. I think they're great opportunities for mobile to endear himself to fans. Here is a bondage Mareo Jones. I think when you add a guy like Davi spur tans and C._J.. Miles and we added awesome quality vets to go with those young players to help with the lumps that would probably going to look at a couple times next year the one thing I think it seems with Bradley is and I know you've addressed this and it's we'll talk about as part of a bigger vision going forward. That Bradley wants to play with character guys. He wants to be around high character guys and it seems as though that's your promise to him now is that's what we're seeking out right. That's that's what will change here and I don't even know promises can be <hes> th there's a very simple to make and hard to keep we can't be about that. We gotta show him and I think we showed that through the draft and it was really neat to see when we're in Las Vegas Bradley and John they sat courtside and looked at all all of our rookies they looked at all of our players that we had around and they didn't come to just <hes> to to cheer them on. They come to see what kind of players they are and I noticed Watson Ruia watching admiral they were looking over there watching those players watched them. They carried themselves differently. They knew this take time to to prove themselves and I think the players that we on boarded so far they match the criteria just laid out they matched the criteria. We're going to demand of everybody that comes here be hard working high character and have a resume that says you're about winning winning and we can develop that that's easy. I can't say enough about coach Brooks in his staff and what a fantastic partner he was through this whole entire time Adrian his ability to to really re galvanize the troops and say hey. We're going to be young exciting being hungry hardworking. We're going to be that team. Everybody hates to play that. That's not just words. That's gotta be followed up by actions and he's putting things in place right now that I think we'll see in the season. Hey this is going to be a vision that every player in the N._B._A.. Is GonNa take notice of and want to be here Tommy when when the change came when Ernie Grunfeld was let go and you were made interim general manager you have no idea how long has searched processes going to take you have no long. You don't know how long your key cards. You'RE GONNA work in the building. You just Kinda. Come in and work at it when you were able to sit down with Ted Leonsis and talk about yeah short-term what you need to do getting ready for the draft and all the things that we're going on then exit meeting season's ending and then longer-term making making the case to be a candidate for the job. How do you separate out when you sit down with Ted? You were here for sixteen years and there were successes in sixteen years playoffs and and all N._B._A.. Back Court home runs in the playoffs and then there were reasons why change was made. How are you able to reconcile your time here? The role you played in successes failures things as you WanNa do better and hey. I'm going to do it differently. I've got a different vision for what this should look like. Well I think the easiest ways by just by actions now words and show and Ted the plan that I really was involved an awful lot more data collection a lot more value driven ideas that we add to identify players that we really should spend a lot of time focusing on for the future. I don't think I spent a lot of time looking back. I don't think that ever pays you learn from the as yes you don't live. There and I think the best driver for US moving forward as hey boy. Did we do well. How can we amplify that more are gaps? How can we supply help to those gaps in this result of those conversations book that really resonated with me was actually bye? General McChrystal Stanley McChrystal was the teams and I thought how can we bring that idea to life in basketball. It seemed like it's a no brainer to have everybody in real time some of the best thinkers in a room whenever we could be but. The the way this businesses run anymore. How often are we all one room so having the ability to trust within our departments that everybody has the very best intentions and everybody has the best ideas to execute and the the support of ownership to go do for those things act in real time make sure that we over communicate with each other but but be fine with a collective group everybody collaborating to come up with results? It's so much better than just the idea of one person and we're all waiting for the meeting to start and they're going to tell us how to do it and we walk out with our assignments. That's not what I'm about. I definitely want to involve everybody in every decision that we do but understand these are real decisions and there's not there's a big difference between an opinion and being actively involved in something when and when you don't seek advice from somebody that doesn't have to live with the result right I think everybody has skin in the game in this and I think I have a great group of people that were already here and we added a group of people so I look at this as as a kitchen cabinet we have a cabinet group of people that really are fantastic diverse backgrounds diverse experiences and the ideas that can be generated simply because we all have different areas of life that we've been in. I think that's the best way to get better quicker. I I think sometimes you can get really mundane if you just surround yourself with L. K. where we're going into this way in the N._B._A.. We're only going to do it this way. You know if things were only done one way we'd still be leaching we still be amputating and medical still be doing crazy things in basketball by one of the biggest influences I've ever had being around with Denver with my dance Oni. She'll be a whole different way of playing basketball and I love that vision back in the nineties and now it's the rage in the N._B._A.. But I was also a guy that's a surrogate father other to me this day. Bernie bickerstaff give me my first job in Denver and his influence on me and team building and his ability to see past you know if you go back to that ninety four team is the first time eight ever beat a one. I look at some of the players on that roster. They were castaway players. They were our players had failed other places. There's always something there's always a value to every single player. It's up to us to find out what it is but we have to establish the criteria of WHO's GonNa play for the Washington Wizards and it's not just one person that can dictate that so the collaborative effort of everybody everybody I think it just makes us a better opportunity to bring better players to DC entertain them develop them and I think make them really billers in the community. That's the ultimate idea here's to be successful on and off the court wherein district were reward eight right now where we've got a lot of people that we think we can inspire and help that that area of town rise them up and that's GonNa come through basketball certainly but it's going to become by the inspiration we can give to the youth and the people in that community Itami the timing if somebody sat in on your pre-draft process and spring two thousand nine thousand nine all the way up to the draft what what would have looked different in the process in the evaluation in how decisions were being made how players are being eliminated from the decision making process. I think one of the first things that we did we decided hey let's take a far more analytic approach to to evaluating players and we have fantastic people in our analytics area area with Brett Greenberg and Joe Sill certainly were at the forefront of of identifying certain algorithms that we could use it just really look at it's a fancy way of saying who makes winning plays and who has a resume of making winning plays at both ends of the cord and there's ways to evaluate a player that don't involve the box score and if it's up to them to kinda develop criteria so now you have your data driven and you add to that the value driven by that I mean your resume is a character as a human being as a practice player as a game player as a a student on campus. How you interact with everybody that you come in contact with on campus away from campus hotels airports you know the places that you get information from their endless how they interact with the media idea how they three ball kids all those things come into play when you're evaluating somebody so if you came into our meetings in the spring there was a lot more being discussed around data for sure and I think that helped to sort out who not to look at simply because there's there's certain criteria the a if you don't have this we can show you know player in the N._B._A.? Is Ever played a game. That was below this line. It's called the Mendoza Line for lack of a better tournament and waste time arguing about a player that has no demonstrated resume resume. That's below. That line is fruitless. It's time well wasted so let's tie time well-spent. Let's look at players that gave us up by eliminating a whole bunch of players gave us more time to focus on the players. We're interested in and I think we arrived where we arrived as a group because we had the analytic area the data area driven that was covered the value driven peace with the backgrounds that we were able to do the cognitive testing that we do that simply. How do you learn how can we coach better under the background checks and certainly the medical screening those five pieces called come together and that that's what allows you access to become Washington wizard? Nothing being a lot more. I hate the word process I really do. I think it's overused but that was kind of how we went about our business and I think that's we're going to continue expound on that moving forward time when you have to make decisions as an interim G._M.. That may be long-term resets for an organization that you're doing it with the understanding that you might not be here for it they. They're interviewing other candidates. Maybe they've offered the job somewhere else. Somebody's turned it down. Maybe the processes this is going along. Was it clear to you that to do the job it. It wasn't necessarily about let me just try to cobble together the best team I can for this coming season that I've gotta do this thing because you've made you know Thomas sat around ski. There was a good player for you and you wanted to keep them at the right number and in the past sometimes you wash overpaid for guys that maybe they either to bring them in or maybe to keep them and you drew a line in a way a notice. Some agents say it well usually could get paid in Washington D._C.. Okay but some of those decisions to again draw line and say maybe we take a step back in the short term to take to to clear the books to clear the deck to gather some more assets and you did you gathered up picks processes prospects and you did it without the knowledge of whether you'd be able to be around to see them develop yeah I think you can ever be like cell survival mode in this in this setting because of what the challenge was given to me by Mr Leonsis was puts up together that we think can be sustainable and do a good job with I think that was all I needed to know. Is I have an opportunity to be involved in this but I also understood the entire time. The rest of the basketball world got is on this and how would it look if I was just trying to save my own neck you know the decisions you make if they're the right decisions they'll speak for themselves in time and I'm willing to take the risk because I thought those are all the right things to do. Not just for Tommy Sheppard before everyone in this organization and I think that's where the Ted's commitment was fantastic. I can clearly remember the day when when he asked me to do this obviously then I can clearly remember every moment interaction since then. There was never one time I want you to do this. This is what you have to do. It was like what do you think show me the plan. Show me the structure. Show me how you're going to execute it and you can do whatever it is that you need that you see fit and the first real big challenge honestly was free agency because the temptation to reassemble those are quality players that left here and I really each one has a story. Each one took a piece my heart when they left you really get close to players in this business but one thing that was told to me it's okay love. Players is not okay to be in love with players. You can't let it blind you to the business a basketball and when when when a price point got to high we had to have a financial discipline to know that hey in the future this really affect what we're trying to do and most of the players that left here. They got gray contracts they did but they're short term contract so if we had done those here we'll be right back where we were in a year. We'd be right back where we were this summer. I want my but we keep doing this all over again and that just doesn't appeal to me. I don't don't think that was wise for the long term health the franchise and so what we were able to do this summer and that was great for us. I don't look to be applauded and we don't need to be graded. Grades always should come to three years after the trades or after the draft after free agency as composed rose to within twenty four hours. I don't think that's ever been <hes> very beneficial for people but the best thing I can say about going through that entire deal as it felt very natural. It was very much of a group setting where everybody was so involved in it wasn't rehearsed. We really felt like everything that was going. According to plan we took some shots we took some tough hits and you turn around and and you pivot and you keep moving forward and that's why I was so proud of this group the idea of collaboration aberration and what that means in the end you. You're going to make decisions. You're the final decision making the owner. Owner is a final decision maker right Ted Leonsis but but you're the general manager and there's a moment moment of truth where you've got to pull the trigger on trade or draft night or making decisions on staff. What does it mean in this world to collaborate? I do think there's there's been a realization. Some places got it sooner than others that this job is big and and that a general manager I thought the Clippers Front office and the way they've reshaped and rebuilt their roster. You saw like lots of quality people brought in maybe not as much centralized Lawrence Franks in charge but bombers and see bombers involved and they're gonNA listen to their coach Doc rivers. It feels like more and more that what you've done in Washington is a recognition around the league that man. There's a lot to this and there's a lot to do in this. Well absolutely in the time spent the time loss if you're trying to just be a team of one is wasted time. I think the the most important thing when you're looking at big decisions the big moments is Ted likes to say is no that you prepared and you have planned A._B._C._d.. All the way through the alphabet because things happen the the best laid plans this summer look how many teams plan for a certain player this summer and they didn't get that so they had to pivot quickly I think being. Gable to have in real time access to the best in Intel the very best information to make these decisions that's what's critical and the only comes from having more people involved in the process of gathering it having more people involved in the process of reading that Intel reading that data and telling US hey these these are manageable outcomes and then being able to have the resources and the support of ownership. That's the critical critical piece and I think the teams that were successful. This summer are the ones that have the very best ownership the leadership uh on top because we know all the people in the league. I don't think anybody comes in this wanting to fail. There's very successful people in the N._B._A.. I think the succession plan is always in place. The organizations grow leaders and other places they just haven't on adapted to the times and I think we're we're we're trying to get to here in Washington is going to be much quicker than people may realize just because of the resources that we've been afforded by our ownership group if the wizards are run right in Washington in D._C.. Should this be a destination organization in the N._B._A.. One thousand percent I think it always has been you know I heard people say in the past. We have an attractive free agents. WILL I don't know Bradley. Beal resigned your John Wall resigned there marching Cortott when he was year Markeith Moore's we had a lot of players that re upped with us and I think those are huge free agents because at that time they were some of the top players in the marketplace and we were attracted. We've been able to attract free agency or over the years for for a very long time but now at this place and being able to manage our message out there to the basketball world that this is what we have available. It's world class one of a kind three sixty opportunity for you as a person to be better and to sustain and to prolong your career career. I think that's what is exciting and that's going to be world class. That's what we're going to have to blast from the mountaintops to show the N._B._A.. This is the place Washington D._C.. Is a destination one hundred percent. John Wall's Rehab in Florida. You normally might think I think he's isolated. He's away from the organization. He's there's a level of scrutiny going on with with his rehab process. I know Ted joked about every morning. He's replaced the Washington Post with <hes> emails. Video evaluation of what John's doing is that just vital player of the investment you have in him. He's your highest paid player when highs paid players league and then of course an all star guard and an injury are- combined with an injury series as the one he has that that that it's gotta be part of your daily routine. I think over communicating is what I wanna be accused them and making sure you know our ownership group made huge investment in John he could do not have ever asked for that injury to happen but we certainly could manage the outcomes the best as possible by making sure he has the very best plan in place to get back to the floor and it takes one hundred percent participation on his part but it takes one hundred percent participation on our part to make sure the very best healthcare in the plan in place in the progress that he makes sharing in those successes with with Ted every day. That's that's part of this process you go through when you're trying to bring a player back to the court. <hes> you got to celebrate. You got to manage the disappointments. There's tough days you know the mundane monotony approach of Rehab especially to an Achilles injury you know every day looks the same for a couple of three four five months in Monroe and that's really difficult for somebody as competitive as John Wall and I think the necessity for John to see that we are paying attention because we care about him. The person that player that came to DC five-time all star was all M._B._A.. That's committed so much money and time to this not just this city not just this franchise but around the the Basketball Globe and what he does with his grassroots team and what he's done in Raleigh what he's done for for single mothers all the different things at John on does not just about putting that ball through it's it's the person that we care about it. I think when he sees the support from us it really does push him up another notch his ability to get back to the court because he loves basketball share but I think he also wants to show hey hey. I appreciate all the things that you've done for us partner with you in this. He's not just out there. You know unchecked in in the basketball summer does John need people. Does he need to have somebody on top of him. He's I see a player. Not every it is monotonous rehab of that injury is difficult but is Jonah player who an organization has to stay on more than maybe someone else but I think every single athlete leading somebody's supervision wise to make sure they're doing all the things that they need to do but certainly to be there to manage the difficult times and so I wouldn't put John any different than any other athletes in the N._B._A.. The tough times come when you're by yourself away from the crowd away from your team and you're doing a hundred till raises and you're you're trying to spell the alphabet with your toes and there's two people in the room and this guy's played in front of sold out crowds in the playoffs. He's been in all star Games and now he's he's performing in front of a physical therapist. You know in the middle of nowhere sometimes that's that's difficult emotion for a player to channel and being able to see yourself back on the floor knowing that hey sometimes as injury takes over a year to get too so I think doesn't make John Wall any different sprint. I do think what we WANNA make sure he understands is how important is to this franchise and the only way you can do that is with the old T._i.. And being able to have conversations every day and not just with myself not just with Scotty Brooks not just with his teammates mates Ted Leonsis is calling him. He's down there. He went to see John. John's been to his house. That's a level commitment and interest that I think John Recognizes. Hey everybody's watching. Everyone's counting on me and I want them to feel that a little bit that hey this this business for me. As a player coming back it affects so many lives and I want him to know that we care so deeply about him as a person certainly but the business end of this as we need you back we need you to be as good of a players you can possibly be. We're GONNA give you all the resources pieces and we need you to be honored percent compliant and he's done that. I think anybody that's seen John Out and about over the summer he was able to introduce Bradley built the N._B._A.. Awards ceremony and how much pride that gave us and people were taken aback. He looked great. It's scary to watch this workouts. We had him in Vegas and people are looking at them on the floor and they said well. How is he gonNA play preseason? It's how quickly he looks great and how skilled years as a player but there's no calendar and there's no clock. That's going to tell us when John's coming back what's going to happen is when he's one hundred percent and even the additions today with would danny. I think our medical staff now is to be able to really save a player from himself because John's one of those players he will sneak out layup line. If he's fifty percent he wants to play badly and the investment alone tells you that we can't allow that to happen. He has to one hundred percent healthy and I think the medical staff will do whatever it takes to get them back to the court but I think John is by far the biggest critic of himself and he wants to get back to where he was and you know there's only one way to do that is to do this and be complied with everything so I can't say enough about his participation this summer and he knows where what he needs to do. I think the raises on you know obviously K.. D. had a devastating stating injury in in in the finals and it's very similar injury to what John went through so he's got a soulmate right there that he can talk to some of the most common places for that injury to happen in the N._F._l.. There in in European football so now the experts that we added today there's more people that can can relate to John's injury and help us and make sure that we had the best people and I go back to the addition of Isaiah Thomas as a player for us. It's a no brainer but the empathy he can give John from having injury happened up in and change and take the game away from you is as walked at walk so I think having people like that serve John as well as our medical staff having the ability to to have someone to talk to you that's been through that like Isaiah that was tremendous US Chami for a punter from New Mexico state. Hey I was an aspect. I was defensive back. I get on the field gets back here. I wasn't a planner I I spent time with the punters clarify that your history with becoming part of the global game and really at the forefront with service Marshall Ona's all the way back there even before your your days at U._n._l._v. n._p._R.. Nuggets yes. I know that for Ted Leonsis making the wizards feel more like an organization that was embracing the Global Games whether scouting and having the ability which you have to go to a lot of places around in the world know the guy know who's in the gym nowhere to get information nowhere to get accurate information more importantly Ted Ted it said to me that that was a big part of this that your background but you started worded internationally really in a little bit of a roundabout way right absolutely I think my very first exposure to it was actually in goes back to ninety six Olympics and I was working for the U._S._O._C. and we had a Greek player for the Denver Nuggets. We drafted a kid at the time theme is wrenches and he happened to be playing for Greece at the Olympics so I got the opportunity to go over introduce myself to him. As a first time I really I chance to meet him and ninety six was transformed for me because also that time we had a player player in Denver Makhmudov abdul-raouf and we made a big trade and we traded in for sure and it's Marshall Onus well now. I have two players at the Olympics and I had an opportunity to go and introduced myself bath the Denver Nuggets and give them the welcome <hes> the welcome mat that they needed hidden deserved but then Bernie bickerstaff at the town today wants to do some scouting reports while you're there wants you watch these Games and tell me what you see the partnership I may which ruinous at that time I didn't realize even brother for the rest of my life <hes> <hes> working with him and ninety six and everyday since he's been somebody that's so influential in my life and being able to send scouting reports back and people read them and <hes> I think that started the interest and then it just took off and being able to with Sharunas we put a league. League together a pan-european League that ended up being a model for for what feebly ended up with feeble Europe and you know those those opportunities. They don't seem big at the moment they just seem like something you just love your pursue what you love and I remember traveling the globe and seeing seeing you the same places that world championships and the Olympic Games of those those games are as intense as anything I've ever been part of probably more intense than some N._B._A.. Finals Games if he can believe that just because of what's at stake. It's once every four years as forty minutes. It's a feeble ball all in three feeble rafts and everything that can happen with that and the country's pride is at stake in those games are so so meaningful and I think that took that to heart and now I look back on it and I've been involved with players from well over twenty twenty-five international players in my time and every one of them special story something about them and it's helped me teach much kids geography. They all know we're players are from based on you know they look at the world map and say Oh basketball and they know where players here's our from simply because of what I do <hes> but the international global game that's where it's Ad and I've I'd say it over and over again. We haven't checked passport yet. We haven't checked <hes> driver's license yet. We we don't care how old you are where you're from. If you can play you can stay but certainly we cast a much wider net now in the N._B._A.. Going Global Ernie Corsie who was the general manager of the giants and <hes> Baltimore called said to me he had started on the P._R.. Side in pro sports and immersed himself in person in the scouting process wanted to make the Trans make that transformation over and still would always get sort of the you know the raised eyebrows from the guys who'd been career rare basketball guys I remember he said to me once. Hey listen it takes seven years learn to become a doctor. I really believe you can learn how to scout and learned talent and a window of seven years. If if it takes seven years to learn how to do open heart surgery injury from the beginning of college through med school what was that transformation like and what was it like in the League where you came in you you were P._R.. Director in Denver and U._N._l._v. and then you you went over to player services and then you you slowly moving you came aim the Washington and a front office roll well. They've always the benefactor at that time a very small. We were very small productions in the N._B._A.. Back in front offices et four or five people so there was a ton of tons and tons of jobs. It never got done and it needs to be done and I was benefactor that with Bernie bickerstaff I I remember. He allowed me to go watch high school games because nobody was doing reports on that. We didn't have anything on that but yet I got to go down. Watch G DUB PLAY IN DENVER and there was a great gardner by name Chauncey billips. They got a chance do reports on chance back in the day and watch some C._B._A.. Games because we didn't have anybody on staff that could do that and if there's jobs that aren't getting done you can take those on and if you screw them up no one's going to say anything anyway right but it gave me a chance to grow in the responsibility that was added and so when I got to U._N._l._V. Meeting Coached Arcane and that was transformative in my life particularly you get a chance to work with one of the greatest coaches of all time but also because of his staff and Tim Gerbrich who to this day is by far my biggest basketball influence and and life coach that I've ever been around helped me really learn how to not even just evaluate talent for M._B._A.. For College for everything else but also how to treat every player and how to motivate and how how to get the very best out of people I follow what key coach Tommy and then really mass amino came into my life and his staff and the people that were there you know we were in such a small basketball community. The small world that we live in where you know one of his assistance was Jay Wright. Our manager was Brett. Gunning will interact with those guys. All the time Tom Cora we have fantastic staffs back then and see all those people do this day. What did you learn about crisis management at U._N._l._v.? That's got to prepare you for something right. Every day was a crisis absolutely when the crazy becomes normal. That's always refer back to those times you you don't know it until you step away and realize hey other athletic departments. Don't have their own lawyers. Come to every staff meeting and <hes> you know the team the school President President doesn't film your basketball coach basketball classes. You thought that was kind of how it was supposed to be but honestly I think crisis management P._R.. We're all in that. Were in that business to this day and if we don't believe that you're kidding yourself I think the most important thing to for properly functioning franchises for everybody to recognize our fiduciary responsibility to ownership but really our responsibility to our fans. Put the best team out. There and I don't think anybody cares you play twenty-five thirty years ago it's about what you can produce today. How can you help this franchise? Give better and that's how we evaluate people and that's how I was always evaluated. The transformation for me was easy well because I I was college athlete but I play basketball my whole life hyphen I think when I got the opportunity to be at New Mexico state and football wasn't so good we weren't very good team but we had a great basketball team and actually <hes> you know Johnny Rogerson jumping Johnny Rogerson running around with with the aggies backed in Lo and behold years years later. There's Andre Roberson. His son POPs open the N._B._A.. It's the circle life that keeps coming up time and time again but that experience with with Aggie basketball led to me working at U._n._l._v. and all the people we already discussed and that got me in front of the nuggets in that got me into the Washington Wizards. Yeah I think all those experiences you look back on even the smallest experiences that we laugh about to this day they were very transformative and the ability I think for anybody to make a difference in our business just comes back by how hard you willing into work how much willing to learn how much you can bring to the organization you mentioned the influence. Might the Antoni had on you in Denver and Michael Talk about when he started there. He wasn't ready to go all in on what he really believed in. What what do you remember about where he was in terms of what he thought the N._B._A.? Could take or what he thought he could. He was an interim coach and can I go all in on this style that I wanna bring from Italy with me but I'm not quite sure I can really sell it here and you never wanna live life with regret. I think if Mike would was sitting here he would tell you. I think he wanted to go back to that team. Unfortunately it was a lockout-shortened season so you didn't have an opportunity to maybe have that training camp that you really need to put in a style style of play but I think at that time. Mike definitely didn't want to to really shake the N._B._A.. On its ear because there was still it's so new back then to think of somebody coming from Europe implementing style play completely different than the way the N._B._A.. was and thinking it was just going to be cool and be normal because it wasn't at that time the great players in the league were all in the post and a great scores. They were not the ilk of some of the players at Mike has certainly certainly in Phoenix and in Houston and other places he's been that's I'm the game was ugly. It was getting you know defenses. Were were the kings and what Mike was able to do later on in life. I think he could have done at that time in the N._B._A.. We didn't have enough talent but the wisdom the way he wanted the division of the way the game was being played in his mind back then. Certainly I think if we could've stayed at it it would have been successful because it's it's successful now. It just takes somebody really doing and I think every great idea starts out as heresy right but as as you look forward and you start to realize how beautiful the game is when the ball moves and great shooting should matter and defenses shouldn't be allowed to tackle someone and closed on someone hand-checking got out of control when you free up the ability for players to be creative. It's such a fantastic game to watch. I think Mike knew that then and now he's been recognized for bringing that offensive firepower the N._B._A.. In that philosophy but I think it could work back into Tommy you and your wife Rosie. Seven children five girls two boys how can a general manager in the N._B._A.. Ray Seven cow. How do you do that? You marry a saint. I was able to do and they marry me my wife. Mary may not my job my kids. They really don't at the end of a day when I go home. It's never about the wizards it's always about. What can we do as a family? How can we make this time count because you can't really sit around counting the time you know I have a work life? That's very time intensive and I gotTa make sure I have enough when I get home to suspended as that equal amount of energy with my family and and then ambience right here a lot of nights they lose a lot of nights we give more time to our teams and we do to our families and every time you say we're going to do better. Something else seems to come up but I think the family life five the home balance to have the the situation life that I've been blessed with. It allows me to be very good at what I do my office in my office life because of the support I have at home <hes> I I tell you what one thing that I think. The toughest job in the world is the one that you don't need a license. A certificate a degree diploma four is is to have a child into raise children and you would think you would have to have at least a doctorate to be able to have a child and yet we have them all over. I and I think for me the ability to to raise children and what it takes to have a happy home I can take so many those lessons and apply them here at work and I always tease players look. I don't take that crap off mark you off. You think we can laugh about it in you. You know when Bradley came in John came into the league they were young men and now they both have sons and we can bond over raising children and talking about feeding at three A._M.. A lot as easy and comfortably as we do. How are we gonNA stop the rockets? How are we going to be Toronto Ronald those conversations now? There's so much fun or more fulfilling for me to watch those guys they came in the League is young men now. They're grownups with families and we have a lot more in common and the gap the age gap from oldest two youngest with you is what now so twenty-three down to seven and it's it's a heck of a gap but it it I tell you what's so neat about our opportunity that the life that this has been afforded to us as a family in the N._B._A.. Is So many friends that you meet and all around Niccolo. My children have been exposed a lot of it because of basketball but they've been exposed to people from all kinds of walks of life all kinds of cultures everywhere around the world and I think it's made them much more well rounded more worldly and I have basketball the thank Tommy I have you. Thank for a great forty five minutes here. You got to be all talked out today. You've done a lot of talking Krisha. You spend a little bit of time here as they were saying earlier. I think I got paid by the word of Warren Buffett today but.

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