Cultural divide keeps foreign coaches away

Wed Dec 10, 2008 8:13pm EST
 
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By Steve Keating

TORONTO (Reuters) - From Lithuania's Zydrunas Ilgauskas to China's Yao Ming, hundreds of basketball players from foreign shores have become household names in North America, finding fame and fortune on the NBA hardwood.

There are, however, few overseas names among the NBA coaching ranks, where a cultural divide has kept foreign hoop mentors from participating in the NBA's relentless globalization.

In Europe, clubs continue to operate as dictatorships with coaches exerting absolute control over players.

In the NBA such draconian authority long ago gave way to a more socialist reality where teams must consult the players' union on all matters and coaches are forced to work within the rigid framework of the collective bargaining agreement.

"These are different sports systems based on different concepts," Toronto Raptors' Italian assistant general manager Maurizio Gherardini, the first European to hold a senior management position with an NBA franchise, told Reuters. "It's a different way of living.

"Over there the coach has control. Here the collective bargaining agreement has control of everything in detail.

"Over there you have no limitation how many times you want to practice or for how long or the rules that you may apply.

"If you look at the quality of the coaches and their coaching you will definitely find valuable and quality coaches on the international scene.   Continued...

 
<p>Toronto Raptors first overall draft choice Andrea Bargnani (C) holds his team jersey with Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo (R) and vice president and vice general manager Maurizio Gherardini at a news conference in Toronto in this June 29, 2006 file photo. From Lithuania's Zydrunas Ilgauskas to China's Yao Ming, hundreds of basketball players from foreign shores have become household names in North America, finding fame and fortune on the NBA hardwood. There are, however, few overseas names among the NBA coaching ranks, where a cultural divide has kept foreign hoop mentors from participating in the NBA's relentless globalisation. REUTERS/Mike Cassese/Files</p>