“I talked with Mr. Colangelo and Coach K and the rest of the staff about coming back,” McMillan says. “One of the things we want to do is win the world championship, and it’s another opportunity for me to represent my country. It’s no different than a player doing it a second time."
“The first time, it was good for me to be able to work with great coaches and some of the best players in the world. To be asked to be a part of it again was an honor.”
The fact that McMillan is willing to give up some of his time off to coach more basketball says something about the man. He practices what he preaches. If you want more proof, take a look at this excerpt from the article we ran on McMillan's contract a few months ago.
After that season, McMillan would be free to negotiate, free to sign a long term, big money deal. However, Nate McMillan preaches staying hungry, and earning your paycheck to his Portland players, which is why after his contract his up, he will only be signing one-year contracts, one at a time.
"I think that's the way it should go," said McMillan, who has been in Portland since 2005. "It might be crazy ... I know my agent thinks I'm crazy. But I think it should be based on your performance. I don't think there is another coach who would say that, and I say that because everybody talks about security. For me, security is knowing you want me to be here, and that I'm doing what I need to do. Not you wondering, 'Why is he here?' Or, 'How are we going to get out of this?' "
It's really great to see a guy that does not allow money or fame to go to his head. Nate McMillan seems to impress at every turn. Whether it be the way he played here at NC State, the way he's single handedly turned around the Portland Trailblazers, or the way he lives his life. He never let's the celebrity status of being an NBA head coach cloud his vision, as can be seen here when asked about whether he was working too much and not getting enough time off.
“A lot of people don’t have jobs in this country right now,” he says. “I’ll have some short offseasons, but I’ve done it before. It’s not an issue. I feel like the opportunity (to coach the national team) benefited me before, and it will benefit me again.
“I never have a problem being fresh and ready for an NBA season. I don’t play golf. I enjoy working. I enjoy being around players and coaches. This summer, I’ve had the chance to spend some time on vacation with my family, but basketball is what I do. I will be prepared for my job, which is coaching the Blazers regardless of what I do in the offseason.”
Photo by: Sam Forencich