Mike Malone details how coaches used to bribe other coaches with wine to vote for their All-Stars
Denver Nuggets head coach Mike Malone has been the lead drummer in the Nikola Jokic band in hopes to make him an All-Star this season, despite a slip in his numbers through the bulk of the 2019-20 season. Now that he’s an All-Star for the second straight time, the longtime helmsman shared a tidbit of the often-mysterious relationship between them, noting coaches would often send other coaches bottles of wine to entice them to vote for their players as All-Stars.
“It doesn’t happen very much anymore,” the Nuggets coach told Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “I just remember when I was an assistant coach you would see, I remember one year Minnesota had a great one. They put out a record. It was Kevin Love and (Nikola) Pekovic, Blues Brothers record. And they sent it to every coach in the conference. I never listened to the record but I have it. But yeah, wine, phone calls, whatever it might be.”
Coaches have done their share of pumping up their guys to the media in hopes some will listen, but once it’s down to the 30 coaches to choose who must make the cut for the reserves, it’s likely there’s some politicking going on to help some stand above the others.
While wine bribery is as old as the start of civilization, one can’t help but wonder the typical questions like who sends the best bottle of wine in the league? How many bottles are sent to each coach? How expensive is too expensive a wine bottle? What’s the refund policy if a coach sends a different type of red blend than the one desired?
So many questions, so little time.
Luckily for the Nuggets coach, many consider Jokic worthy enough of All-Star recognition, saving him the time to make a bunch of calls, put in an order for a few wine cases, or even put out a record like Love and Pekovic did.