The Other Teflon Don

Don Nelson is a winner. And a bully.

The only coach capable of bringing Golden State to the playoffs seems uniquely allowed to embarrass, harass, and belittle those in his employ. And our local media seems just tickled by it.

The latest example is from Saturday’s game against Milwaukee, when assistant coach Keith Smart fouled up the roster submission and wound up leaving Matt Barnes on the ineligible list for the game.

The quotes after the game (laughs all around, because we won) captured Nelson saying to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Actually, Keith Smart left him (Barnes) off because he was watching the adult movie channel when he should have been concentrating on drawing up the roster. So we’re going to take that privilege away from him for the rest of the year – no more adult movies for Keith Smart.”

Nelson gets a pass the size of Andres Biedrins. He goes on KNBR and rips his players and the afternoon crews cackle with delight at how “real” Nellie is. His curmudgeonly gripes are treated as the height of wit, and just encourage more reckless quotes, which the press seems to regard as part of coach’s charm.

I’m guessing that Nelson speaks the words that the journos aren’t comfortable mouthing themselves – ripping players who make millions of dollars and not enough free throws (and can’t find anyone willing to put on the record) and encourage and cheer on Nelson’s boorish ramblings.

Why hanging his assistant out to dry after a win is Nelson’s idea of an appropriate response is curious enough. Why those who cover the team encourage and cheer those post-game raggings is the story I want to read about.


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