It’s been over a week since Nate McMillan was fired as the Portland Trail Blazers head coach, a position he has had held for seven seasons. McMillan was instrumental in taking the team from the “Jail Blazers” era into a force in the West and a regular playoff team. In a recent interview with the Oregonian, McMillan discusses his emotions after receiving the news of his dismissal:
When (Larry) Miller called, he started with small talk, but quickly got to the point. He said the Blazers were going in a different direction, and it was going to start with replacing McMillan.
The phone line went silent.
“I was kind of numb,” McMillan said. “I could tell that Larry, it was tough for him. I told him to let me call him back, because I couldn’t talk.”
The following hours remain hazy, but McMillan says he remembers “just sitting there” in his room. He remembers asking himself whether it was real.
Then people started to call offering their support. Then he saw it across the ticker on TV.
“When everybody else started to find out, I knew then it was for real, that this really happened, you are no longer a Blazer. You are no longer the head coach of the Blazers,” McMillan said.
A couple of hours after being informed, the reality had sunk in. And so came the emotions. He cried.”
The whole interview is must read, as McMillan talks about how he called each player after the news was out and even meeting them before they left for their next game. McMillan, even during his playing days, has often been looked at as a standup guy so it should come as no surprise that he took out a full-page advertisement in the Oregonian on Sunday to thank fans and the Blazers’ organization.
A very class move by someone who just lost their job. With moves like this and his experience, expect Nate McMillan to be a head coach in this league in the near future.
Did Portland make the right move?
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