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News » Collins: 'Always a Winner but Never a Champion

Collins: 'Always a Winner but Never a Champion

Collins: 'Always a Winner but Never a Champion Associated Press

Even if Doug Collins doesn't agree with those who see his life in Basketball as unfulfilled, he understands why the perception exists.

Collins was an Olympic star, but he had his dream of gold ripped away by the loss to the Soviet Union in the 1972 Munich Games.

He was the 1973 NBA No. 1 overall draft pick who played a major role in the rise of the Philadelphia 76ers from a 9-73 team. A knee injury forced him to retire in 1981, two years before the 76ers beat the Lakers for the 1983 NBA title.

He coached Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest player in NBA history, but he was fired before the Chicago Bulls began their run of six NBA titles. He coached Jordan again in Washington at the end of Jordan's career.

"If I ever was going to write a book, and I probably won't, the title would be 'Always a Winner but Never a Champion,' " Collins said Tuesday.

"I don't have hurt feelings about any of that stuff. That's a nice way to make yourself bitter and forget about all the wonderful things that have happened in my life."

And there be more memorable events in the next 10 days.

Collins will receive the Curt Gowdy Media Award at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Thursday night for his work as a broadcaster.

Another honor will come next week. On Sept. 19, a statue of Collins and his college coach, Will Robinson, will be unveiled at Illinois State. The school already has named its court after Collins.

"My career is sort of a Fantasy Island," the 58-year-old Collins said. "They say dream big. Well, this is far greater. The career I've been able to have and have been given through the blessings of God is far greater than anything I could have dreamed."

The Curt Gowdy Award is given annually to members of the print and electronic media who have made a significant contribution to the game of Basketball. Peter Vecsey, the longtime NBA columnist for the New York Post and USA Today, will receive the print award.

"The game has given so much to me, I don't feel like I could ever repay it," Collins said. "It's going to be a very emotional time."

Collins' work as an NBA broadcaster took him to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where he experienced another emotional scene.

After the U.S. team won the gold medal, Lebron James jumped over the scorer's table, embraced Collins and said "This is for you."

Collins was so moved he had to put down his microphone.

"Then they brought me out on the floor and put the gold medal around my neck because they knew of my story in 1972," Collins said. He said the experience was more special because his son, Chris, a Duke assistant coach, was working on Krzyzewski's staff at the Games.

"The Olympics thing for me was really something that really hurt for a long time," he said. "But there was a lot of closure for me. ... I feel like now my family is a part of a gold medal. That's really important to me."

Collins was 332-287 in eight seasons as an NBA head coach with Chicago, Detroit and Washington. He returned to announcing NBA games for the Atlanta-based TNT network after he was fired by the Wizards after the 2002-03 season.

It could only be a matter of time before Collins accepts another coaching job in the NBA .

He considered a return to the Bulls in 2008 and confirmed on Tuesday he talked with Pistons president of Basketball operations Joe Dumars this year about the Pistons' vacancy. He said neither job was the right fit.

"The interesting thing for me is that two of the places I've gotten fired, both of those organizations came back and talked with me again about coming back to coach there," Collins said. "To me that's a great compliment."

Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf called Collins "the brightest Basketball mind that I knew."

"He's brilliant," Reinsdorf said in June, 2008. "The man is brilliant."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: September 11, 2009


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