The LA Lakers have replaced Jason Kidd on their coaching staff with David Fizdale. We take a look at their relationship over the years.
David Fizdale, by all accounts, is one of the more popular coaches across the NBA. While Knicks and Grizzlies fans may not necessarily view him in the best light as a head coach, he certainly distinguished himself in his capacity as an assistant coach.
Fizdale started his coaching career off at San Diego State more than 2 decades back. His eye for detail and basketball IQ shone through even at SDSU, where he spent 4 years. Soon, the LA native would be on his way to the NBA after a year at Fresno State (2002-2003).
The Golden State Warriors came calling for the 29-year-old in the year following Michael Jordan’s final retirement. He’d only spend 1 year in NorCal before the Atlanta Hawks picked him up.
4 more years at Atlanta led to him getting noticed by colleague Erik Spoelstra. After Pat Riley’s decision to step back from a head coaching role, Spoelstra was named as the Heat’s bench boss. He ended up inviting Fizdale to his staff, giving him the opportunity to work with Dwyane Wade.
How LeBron James and David Fizdale worked together with Erik Spoelstra at Miami
This is where the tales of LeBron James and David Fizdale collided. South Beach became host to the league’s first player-sanctioned superteam as D-Wade, James and Chris Bosh teamed up in 2010.
Fizdale would soon become a personal favorite of James during their 4 Finals runs together. In fact, they grew so close that Fizdale shared this story in an ESPN appearance back in 2018:
“I don’t know how many times I came into the office and there was a gift on our desk from LeBron because he’d get so much free crap. I never got so many Christmas gifts in my life.”
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“He would do stuff like that for no reason. That was the part I will always remember about him, the things he would do for us. He put me in a commercial once as a wedding gift. How about that?”
“Because I said, ‘Don’t get me anything.’ Instead of him listening, he says ‘Hey coach, why don’t you be in the Samsung commercial with me?’ You know, that’s a nice little check for an assistant coach. And [the card] says, ‘Hey man, congratulations on your wedding.'”