Don Nelson made Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson captains of ‘We Believe’ Warriors after long night of scotch, shuffleboard
Longtime NBA coach Don Nelson had plenty of different ways of bonding with his team, among them were drinks and his favorite bar game — shuffleboard. As the head coach of the “We Believe” era of the Golden State Warriors, the he picked up veteran forward Stephen Jackson and his newest teammate Baron Davis, taking them to Smitty’s Cocktails near Lake Merritt for a night of beer, scotch, and plenty of memorable conversations.
“We played shuffleboard and drunk scotch for hours,” said Jackson, according to Logan Murdock of NBC Sports Bay Area. “Talking about pissy drunk.”
Nelson indulged the two players in a little chat about strategy before making a bold decision on the spot.
“Nellie tells me and BD while we’re drunk: ‘You guys are going to be my captains. You run this team, and we’re going to have fun.’ ” said Jackson.
That particular night started what would later become the “We Believe” Warriors, a small-ball, fast-paced, fun-loving team that had one of the most improbable run in NBA history.
It was those same Warriors who would listen to a sober Nelson game plan for his former star player, Dirk Nowitzki, beating them in three of four regular season meetings before ripping apart the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the first round — becoming the first eighth-seeded team to upset a top-seed in a best-of-seven series.
Davis’ shot-making and Jackson’s two-way play were key in beating Nowitzki, constantly poking at him from the post and forcing him into uncomfortable shots.
It seems like after all, the scotch just let out a bit of truth and fun for those who would prove vital players in a very memorable 2006-07 season.