Joe Caldwell Interview Part II
Joe Caldwell: You could be on your game, everything's going in, everything is working, all of a sudden, "hey, it's my night tonight" - bam, the whole thing changes.
InsideHoops.com: It's like that for some guys, you talk trash and all of a sudden things go wrong.
Joe Caldwell: You miss the next three or four. And then you start pressing. That's the way the game is. If you leave it alone... I was watching Michael Jordan play one night, he just left it alone. He made signs, but he didn't say nothing, and bam, bam, 62 he laid on them.
InsideHoops.com: The game where he hit a three and then around midcourt running back stuck his hands out while shaking his head.
Joe Caldwell: Yeah. It was just one of those nights. I saw Jerry West do it one night, he just couldn't miss. He threw one off his hand, it hit side of the rim and went in. Some nights you're on and some nights you can't get it in if your life depended on it.
InsideHoops.com: Which legendary players never talked trash?
Joe Caldwell: Well back in my days you didn't have anybody doing what they're doing now, but the guy who never talked any of the stuff was Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell, those guys came out and did the job. If you beat them, you got lucky. Because they come and whip your butt every night. And that's how I was raised. You come out and you play every night, it's not one night you're good and the next night you take off. The game is different from what it was when I was playing, because we took it seriously and we played hard. Now I can't say that these young people aren't playing hard, because I haven't been inside their locker room and been inside their training camps, so I don't know how they're doing, but the way we did it, we had days off. The way I understand it, they don't have days off. The body needs a rest in-between, somewhere. But the game is just totally different than it was in my days.
InsideHoops.com: And it used to be that you learned to be a great shooter by going to a gym and taking millions of shots, and now...
Joe Caldwell: Somebody's teaching you. They got 900 tutors for everybody. Everybody's going to give you a method of shooting, instead of going out like we used to do. Like, say we were playing in the park, and late at night we'd be out here shooting. If the lights was out, we had a way we could see the basket. By the way the net fell, we know if it went in or not. So we constantly shot the same way. The way we trained and the way they train is different.
InsideHoops.com: You used to play a lot of halfcourt pickup ball.
Joe Caldwell: When you're playing three on three, each man has to play his man, right? Each man has to be able to score when he's open. So it teaches you to talk to each other - pick on the right, pick on the left. All that's gone now (from pickup and youth basketball). I wish it would come back. I have a guy, Ron Naclerio, he's an excellent fundamentals guy. The reason I'm in New York is because my friend Norman, he likes these kids and he wants us to teach these kids, so he flies me in whenever he's got four or five of them. To teach them defense, he wants to make a tape, of defense and fundamentals, which has not been done in years. So, with Ron, the way he teaches and the way I know how to teach, it may be a good seller.
InsideHoops.com: That's a good idea.
Joe Caldwell: It's a good idea, yeah.
InsideHoops.com: Have you started with that, yet?
Joe Caldwell: We're in the infant stage. He's trying to find someone to listen to him. Norman, been a friend to Norman for 40 years. I can't shake him. I promised his mother I'd never leave him. I can't shake him.
InsideHoops.com: So back in your day, on your days off, or if you turned on tv and wanted to watch a game, who did you like watching? Who would you have paid to see play back in your prime if you weren't on the court?
Joe Caldwell: Back in my days, I would have paid to watch Wilt play. But after I started watching that Michael Jordan guy play, and I started seeing how superior he was, and I started following him closely to see what his routine was, and I found out that he wasn't out galavanting all the time, he wasn't running around pumping his chest. He'll score 45 on you and he'll let you have seven. So I said, "man, this guy is playing defense, too!" He's scoring his 35 or 40 points and he's stopping you as well. So that's the guy I would pay to watch. And Magic Johnson, when he came, I used to love watching him play. Because he'd control the team... I like guys who can take the mind of the game and control it. And those two guys did it for me during that stretch.
InsideHoops.com: So these days how much basketball do you watch?
Joe Caldwell: I watch all the games. Once you love the game, the man who says he doesn't watch basketball games anymore and he loved it all his life - no. I don't care how bad it is, you may not watch the whole game, or you may watch the last three quarters, but you never lose the love of the game. And I have never lost it. I love the game. That's the bottom line. And I think I'll go to my grave loving basketball.