Three decades ago, Rick Carlisle temporarily coached the Albany Patroons in the Continental Basketball Association. He became accustomed to life as part of a travelling minor league sports team and feels that modern athletes in the NBA Development League live a life of luxury, in comparison.
The Texas Legends of the D-League are situated nearby the home of his Dallas Mavericks team, which means that the team have easy access to the players, should they require their services. Carlisle just feels as though the tougher lifestyle on the fringes of the NBA can teach guys to stay grounded, as per Eddie Sefko of SportsDay:
“It has logistical advantages if you’re that close,” he said. “On the other hand, in some of these situations, you like the idea of sending guys to (crummy) places and having to ride on buses and do that kind of stuff to really get a taste of what the minor leagues are. Then guys will gain a much greater appreciation of being in the NBA.”
Carlisle’s experience with Albany taught him some valuable lessons:
“The first road trip was Savannah, Georgia, Charleston, West Virginia, and came home for two games at the Albany Armory, where our dressing room was the public bathroom,” Carlisle said. “And it was hard travel, you’re traveling commercial, sitting in middle seats and in that situation, you’ve got to love the game and love competing. And when you get in that situation, you gain an even greater appreciation for what it means to be an NBA player on an NBA roster.”