For coach Tim Cone, leaving the country which he considers home — and which has accepted him as its own — to take his act somewhere overseas was an idea he had never, ever entertained.
“I actually never really thought about it.
“I’ve never applied anywhere else, never looked to coach anywhere else,” he told Tiebreaker Vodcasts’ Coaches Unfiltered, presented by SMART and supported by Mighty Sports.
Maybe if it was the legendary Phil Jackson — unquestionably one of the best to ever do it — who came calling along with an offer, then he might sit down and think about it seriously, Cone admitted.
“If Phil Jackson would call me and say ‘Come coach the Knicks’, or come be an assistant for the Knicks, that’s something that… Just from a personal standpoint or personal growth standpoint, I’d have to think about.”
Well, Jackson did serve as the New York Knicks’ president from 2014-17. And in 2017, renowned American sportswriter Roland Lazenby endorsed Cone for team’s coaching staff via Twitter.
The author of five dozen books, including Bull Run! The Story of the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, Lazenby believed that Cone would help the Knicks — then coached by Jeff Hornacek — in implementing Tex Winter’s Triangle offense.
Cone welcomed the possibility of working with Jackson, an 11-time NBA champion, but he made it known then where his loyalties lay. And three years later, his stance has never changed. Never will, it seems.
“I love the PBA,” expressed Cone in the podcast hosted by seasoned coaches Charles Tiu, Anton Altamirano, and Paolo Layug.
“There’s no reason for me to go anywhere.”
Indeed, Cone is happy where he is right now. After all, he is the most successful coach of Asia’s pioneering pro league with a record 22 championships, including two Grand Slam achievements.
With all that, one can’t help but wonder if there is still something which he wants to achieve. For the 62-year-old Cone, though, it’s not all about accolades at this point of his career.
For the current Barangay Ginebra San Miguel chief bench strategist, it’s all about helping his players grow. And seeing them develop and improve makes everything worthwhile.
“I guess now that I’m older, it’s not about accomplishments. For me, it’s about watching, participating in the improvement of players that are around me. Watching guys grow and get better — that, to me, is really what it’s all about. It’s the motivating factor. I think, as coaches, we can take great delight and watch just one player improve a certain part of his game and know that you’re a small part of that,” he said.
“And, if you’re doing that and keeping that philosophy, and you want your guys to improve… I just think that the accomplishments can come on their own.”