NBA’s Most Un-athletic Head Coach Suits Up for One Play
Nets’ Lawrence Frank Trampled in Transition
Nets Coach Lawrence Frank throws sideline tantrum. As the youngest of three boys, Frank was too small to keep up in driveway pickup games, so he stood courtside and shouted advice. “Physically, he wasn’t up to the challenge,” said his brother Bruce Frank, 44. “He should have known better. We just hope and pray he’ll be back on the sidelines soon and stay the hell off the court.”
TORONTO (JockStraps Wire Service) — Some people do, some go into coaching. New Jersey Nets Coach Lawrence Frank is now going into the hospital, his plan to suit up for one play having gone horribly awry.
“We had no idea what was going on,” said Nets guard Jason Kidd. “Beginning of the third quarter Coach handed the clip board to assistant coach Bill Cartwright and disappeared into the tunnel. We were figuring he had to use the john or something, when ten minutes later he’s back out there, suited up and drawing up a play. We didn’t know whether to laugh, cry or snap him out of it. So we decided to laugh.”
In retrospect the Nets players admitted it was a bad decision, but even a visibly shaken Nets President Rod Thorn admitted, “he did look funny.”
Raptors guard TJ Ford describes the scene. “We see this short, skinny Opie-looking white guy with red hair, but with this crazy look in his eye, taking the ball out. I’m like – yo, what’s the guy in Row 56 doing on the floor? Took us a couple of seconds to figure out it was Coach Frank. So me and AP (Guard Anthony Parker) we trap him in the corner.”
J. Kidd picks it up from there. “Coach was beginning to panic, he finally manages to roll the ball between TJ’s legs. I take it across court, we’re setting up the play he drew up in the huddle – high pick and roll, Coach gets the ball as he cuts to the tin. I’m thinking, ok, one play, let’s just do it, get it out of his system, no harm, no foul.”
Thus began one of the most sickening sequences that has ever been witnessed in an NBA arena.
"Man, that was nasty," said Raptors Center Chris Bosh. “I’ve seen balls slapped into the tenth row, but never a guy’s front teeth. Must have been 8 or 9 of em, flew right the fuck out. Damn. Coach Frank must have had his tonsils out as a kid, else they would have landed in someone’s lap too.”
Frank immediately sprang to his feet, blood bubbling from his open wound of a mouth. “Pressure, pressure!” he yelled, spitting out two loose teeth. Ford took the inbounds pass as the Nets back court swarmed. J-Kidd reached in, stripped the ball, but missed the reverse lay up. Bosh grabbed the rebound and lead the charge down the floor, trampling the diminutive Frank who foolishly stepped in their path. The Raptors missed, Kidd gathered in a long rebound and lead the charge toward the Raptors end of the floor. Just as Frank struggled to his feet he was clipped by a Raptors player scrambling back on defense. Frank hydroplaned head-first across the scorer’s and landed into the third row, which transformed into a seething mosh pit, as crazed fans passed the Nets’ coach from row to row. Frank reached the lip of the mezzanine section before security intervened.
“I don’t know what he was trying to prove, he can barely beat the ball boy in a game of horse,” said Jason Kidd. “Coaches suiting up, wearing shorts and a team jersey, I have no problem with that. Just don’t put your squad at a disadvantage by putting yourself in the lineup.”
Rod Thorn has appointed Coach Cartwright as interim head coach during Frank’s recovery.
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