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Bailey Howell: THE NATURAL

The Bailey Howell Interview
By:  Michael D. McClellan | Monday, January 17th, 2005

The game came easily to him. From the first time he picked up a basketball, to later earning All-America honors in both high school and college, Bailey Howell possessed a gift that very quickly set him apart from his peers. He was a natural on the court, at home within its geometric confines, a player so skilled that at the time of his retirement from the NBA in 1971, Howell ranked among the league’s top 10 leaders in nine statistical categories. But statistics only tell part of the story. Howell, who grew up near the cotton fields surrounding Middleton, Tennessee, never made himself bigger than the team.  Regardless of his star power, he was always willing to subjugate his considerable game for the bigger cause.  Such characteristics explain how Howell, a six-time NBA All-Star, blended perfectly with Bill Russell’s Boston Celtics, winning two world championships as the curtain closed on arguably the greatest sports dynasty ever.

 

Howell first gained national attention by setting the Tennessee high school record for points, scoring 1,187 of them for Middleton High School during the 1954-55 season. And while the 31.2 points-per-game scoring average was on display for everyone to see, only those closest to him knew of the dedication required to achieve such success.  Yes, Howell made it look that easy.  He never seemed out of position, grabbing rebounds by the bushel while powering his way to the hoop, causing even the legendary Adolph Rupp to take notice.  But even the naturals have to work at their craft, and Howell was unafraid to put in the hours required to hone his game.  In fact, Howell hardly looked at basketball as work at all; when your high school suspends classes during the fall harvest season so that the students can help pick cotton, you have no trouble identifying the difference between amateur athletics and real work.

 

His desire to play basketball in the Southeastern Conference led Howell to attend Mississippi State University.  He had plenty of other choices – Kentucky came calling, as did Tennessee and the University of Mississippi – but MSU proved to be the best fit for the versatile power forward.  Like Larry Bird at Indiana State decades later, Howell found himself more comfortable on a smaller campus with a more relaxed atmosphere.  And it was at MSU that his virtuosity shone through; in an era when big men were planted firmly around the basket, Howell displayed a guard’s shooting touch from the outside. He was a glimpse into the future of basketball, an offensive anomaly, and his presence on the court wreaked havoc on opposing defenses.  Starting at forward as a sophomore – freshmen weren’t allowed to play varsity sports at the time – Howell torched Rupp’s Kentucky Wildcats for 37 points, serving notice that he could excel against the best programs in the country.

 

If the Kentucky game was Howell’s coming-out party as a scorer, then his 34-rebound performance against LSU that same season cemented his reputation as the team’s chairman of the boards.  He was the kind of player that had to be accounted for at all times, both offensively and defensively, and teams that didn’t keep him off the glass usually walked off the court with a loss – something that happened 17 times in 1957, then a school record.  Just how good was this precocious natural?  Howell finished the season by leading the NCAA in field goal percentage (.568), no small feat considering the Bulldogs’ brutal SEC schedule, and was duly honored as the conference Sophomore of the Year.

 

By 1958, Howell was a Second Team All-America selection.  His 27.8 ppg average placed him ninth in the nation, and he was honored as the Southeastern Conference MVP.  The success did little to change the humble young man with the deft shooting touch; he continued to work hard and set goals, leading MSU to a 61-14 record over three seasons and capturing the SEC title in 1959.  Howell was the first SEC player in history to reach the exclusive 2,000-point, 1,000-rebound club, joining Tom Gola and Oscar Robertson as the only players with that distinction.  First Team All-America honors followed his senior campaign, and Howell was suddenly one of the most coveted players in the 1959 NBA Draft.

 

Urban legend has it that Cincinnati, choosing first, wanted to snatch the 6’-7” rebounding machine to bolster its anemic frontcourt.  But unable to reach contract terms prior to the draft, Royals management swung a deal with Detroit, allowing them to take Howell with the second overall selection.  He was an All-Star by his second season, the first of six such honors.  The Pistons, however, struggled in the win column.  During Howell’s five years in Detroit, the team never finished better than second place in the standings.  They were also unable to get past the Lakers and into the Finals.  It was a frustrating period in Howell’s professional life, but he never complained publicly.  Nor did he demand a trade.  Instead, he played five solid seasons for the Pistons, appearing in at least 75 games per campaign, while averaging more than 20 points and 10 rebounds over that span.

 

Struggling to improve, the Pistons traded Howell to the Baltimore Bullets prior to the 1964-65 regular season.  Howell’s two seasons in a Baltimore uniform proved to be even more challenging than the previous five in Detroit; the Bullets struggled despite a talent-laden roster, and the lack of team harmony began to wear on the MSU product.  All of that changed on September 1, 1966, when Red Auerbach sent backup center Mel Counts to Baltimore in exchange for Howell.  It was a move that helped rejuvenate both Howell and the aging world champions; despite having their string of eight consecutive NBA titles snapped by the Philadelphia 76ers, the Celtics benefited immediately from Howell’s offensive punch.  His contributions factored heavily into the team’s championship runs the following two seasons, giving Howell a pair of rings and the perfect capstone to a hall-of-fame career.

 

Howell would play one more season, for Philadelphia.  On September 29, 1997, he received basketball’s highest honor – enshrinement in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.  Standing at the podium before a large contingent of family and friends, Howell thanked those closest to him as he reflected on a lifetime of hard work and dedication.  He displayed the same humility that he’d carried with him since childhood, and then he walked away, a true southern gentleman, proud of his accomplishments but unwilling to make any bigger deal out of them.  To those who know Bailey Howell best, his acceptance speech was as genuine as it was natural – a true reflection of the man himself.

 

CELTIC-NATION
You were born on January 20, 1937 in Middleton, Tennessee.  Please take me back to your childhood in Middleton and share some of the things that stand out from those early days?

 BAILEY HOWELL
Middleton was a very small town of maybe 300 people or so, and our family actually lived plumb out of the city limits.  It was a rural, farming community with no industry to speak about.  Tennessee Gas built a pump station there during my teenage years, with lines running from Texas and Louisiana on up into Tennessee.  Other than that, the area was mostly made up of farms and small businesses.

Basketball was the only sport offered at our high school – there were no football or baseball teams for the students, so we’d play pick-up games whenever we could.  Our school year started in early August because we would turn out in late September, during the cotton harvest season.  Basketball practice didn’t start until after we resumed our classes, but we would get together on our own and practice whenever we could.

We played basketball most of the year.  After the regular season was over we would play in the regional and class tournaments, and then we’d play informally through the spring and summer.  We only attended school eight months out of the year – we were always out in May, so that we could help chop cotton – so it was important to have a sport to play when we weren’t working.

 

CELTIC-NATION
You were an All-State basketball player at Middleton High School in 1954 and 1955.  As a senior you averaged 32.1 points-per-game, and received All-America honors for your outstanding play.  Please share some of your basketball memories from this period in your life.

 BAILEY HOWELL
We played thirty-five games during my senior season – we normally played twenty-five – and Middleton had some pretty good teams during that era.  We reached the state tourney during my sophomore season, which was one of my biggest thrills, but we were upset in the regional tourney as a senior.  That was a very disappointing moment for everyone on the team because we felt we were good enough to reach the state tournament.

Following my senior season, I was selected to play in the annual Murray State High School North-South All-Star Basketball Game.  I played well, grabbed a bunch of rebounds and was selected to the All-American team.  They don’t play that game anymore, but back then, that was one of the most prestigious events in high school basketball.

 

CELTIC-NATION
Following graduation, you enrolled at Mississippi State University.  What led you to sign with Mississippi State?

 BAILEY HOWELL
I wanted to play in the SEC.  I had an opportunity to play at the University of Mississippi, which was closer to home, but I liked the casual atmosphere at Mississippi State.  James “Babe” McCarthy was the coach at the time, and he was the reason I decided to enroll at MSU.  He was ahead of his time as far as recruiting was concerned – he visited me, and made a real effort to sell the school to my family.  He made sure that other individuals from the basketball program visited as well.  Kentucky showed some interest, but [Adolph] Rupp sent Harry Lancaster, his assistant coach, with a scholarship offer.  That was it.  MSU just did a much better job.  It finally came down to MSU and the University of Tennessee, and Knoxville was just too far away from home.

 

CELTIC-NATION
As a three-year letter-winner, you led MSU to a 61-14 record over three seasons, averaged 27 points-per-game, and helped garner the school’s first-ever SEC crown.  Of your many collegiate successes, do you have one which one stands out above all the rest?

 BAILEY HOWELL
Back then you couldn’t play on the varsity team as a freshman, but we defeated Kentucky during my sophomore season.  It was the first time that had happened in thirty-five years, so that was a very big thrill.  Another goal was to win the SEC Championship, and we were able to do that during my senior year.  We also beat UK in Starkville that season – that was very satisfying, because back then we only played the SEC East teams once a season, while the West teams were always home-and-home.

 

CELTIC-NATION
You were a two-time consensus All-American at MSU (Second Team in 1958, First Team in 1959).  Jerry West was also a member of those All-American teams.  Did you ever have the opportunity to meet Jerry while you were playing basketball at MSU?

 BAILEY HOWELL
No, I didn’t meet Jerry until we were playing professionally.  I knew who he was, and knew that he was a great talent, but our paths never crossed during college.


CELTIC-NATION
You were the second overall selection in the 1959 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons.  Please take me back to that event in your life.  How did you find out about being drafted and how does it compare to the way players are drafted today?

 BAILEY HOWELL
I heard about it on the radio.  I was out of town for the weekend, so that’s how I heard the announcement.  Cincinnati had the number one pick that year, and there were rumors that the Royals were going to select me first.  How true that is, I don’t know.  Back then the AAU teams were popular – teams like the Phillips Oilers and the Wichita Vickers Oilers had some of best talent in the country playing for them – and at the time AAU ball was an option.  The league played a fifty game season, and you were trained in a management area of the company sponsoring the team.  It was a great way to get in the door and start a career.  Cincinnati called me before the draft and wanted to know if I’d play pro ball.  I gave them a number, but they made it clear that they wouldn’t pay that kind of money.  So there was supposed to have been a trade before the draft – I say ‘supposed’, because in those days the deals weren’t always made public – in which Detroit sent a player and money to Cincinnati, with the understanding that the Royals wouldn’t take me or trade away the first pick.  Whatever happened, the Pistons selected me with second pick and I was off to Detroit.


 CELTIC-NATION
One of your teammates that first season was Early Lloyd who, earlier in his career, became the first African-American to play in an NBA game.  Please tell me a little about Mr. Lloyd.

 BAILEY HOWELL
Well, after graduating from college I got married during the summer and moved to Detroit.  I met Earl in training camp – he was a veteran who’d been in the league for a number of years, and I was the rookie trying to take his playing time.  But even though we were in competition for minutes, Earl took me under his wing and spent a great deal of time teaching me about the pro game.  He was truly my mentor.  We continued our friendship after our playing days were over, keeping in touch by phone and visiting occasionally.  My wife and I were at his hall-of-fame enshrinement ceremony, and we were guests in his home not long after that.

 
CELTIC-NATION

In the early days, Red Auerbach was famous for taking his team on preseason barnstorming exhibitions throughout New England.  What did the Pistons do to prepare for the start of the regular season?

 BAILEY HOWELL
We had training camp, played ten exhibition games, and that was it.  When I moved on to Boston, the Celtics were still doing those barnstorming tours even though Red was no longer the coach.  One time we played games on twenty-one straight nights.  But as grueling as all of those games were, they always paid off in terms of a competitive advantage.  The Celtics were the most well-conditioned team in the NBA.

 

 CELTIC-NATION
On November 25th, 1960, you registered NBA career-highs with 43 points and 32 rebounds in a home battle against the Los Angeles Lakers.  What was it like to play so well against the likes of Elgin Baylor, Jerry West and Hot Rod Hundley?

 BAILEY HOWELL
It was a big thrill whenever something like that happened, because it didn’t happen that often.  The Lakers had Rudy LaRusso, who was their defensive stopper.  He was a tough assignment.  On a couple of occasions I grabbed more than thirty rebounds, but I don’t remember one of them being the same night that I scored forty-three points.  We played a double-header once, and I grabbed thirty-two rebounds against the Lakers.  But LaRusso didn’t let me score all of those points [laughs].

 

CELTIC-NATION
Later that season, the Pistons battled the Lakers in the Western Division Semifinals, taking them to the five game limit.  What was that experience like for you, and what still stands out about it after all of these years?

 BAILEY HOWELL
The biggest thing was playing against Jerry West and Elgin Baylor.  In my opinion, West ranks as one of the greatest guards to ever play the game – easily in the top three or four.  And as for Baylor, I still consider him to be the top forward in the history of the NBA.  I remember trying to stop him, and then realizing that nobody was going to stop Baylor – especially me [laughs].  So I went into each game with the mindset that I was going to make him earn his points.  He might score thirty, but he was going to take a lot of shots to get there.

 

CELTIC-NATION
In 1962, John Havlicek joined the Celtics as a rookie out of Ohio State.  Please tell me about some of those battles with Celtics, and about your personal matchups with players such as Havlicek and Satch Sanders.

 BAILEY HOWELL
When we played the Celtics, they had some of their greatest teams.  Players like Bill Russell, Sam Jones and Tommy Heinsohn were in their prime.  Bob Cousy was winding up his hall-of-fame career.  As for Havlicek, he started out playing the role of Sixth Man, and he wasn’t an outstanding shooter at that point in his career.  He later became a terrific shooter through practice and dedication, and that was part of what made him so great.  The other thing was his tremendous stamina.  I believe his resting heart rate was close to forty beats-per-minute, which allowed him to outrun and outlast the opposition.  He’d just keep running, and eventually the other guy would wear down.

Havlicek was a difficult matchup.  He was big enough to play forward and quick enough to play guard.  Because of these advantages, he really presented problems wherever he was asked to play.  He could run the floor against the big, slow guys, and he could step out on the quick guards and really play great defense.  Kevin McHale was the only other player I saw who really posed the same kind of matchup problems.  McHale also started out as the Celtics’ Sixth Man, and he was really able to use his height – and long arms – at the forward position.  He could do this because he had Robert Parish playing center beside him.  Having Chief there allowed McHale to shoot over the forwards, but he could also use those incredible moves to get around the slower players.  So where Havlicek got his mismatches against guards and forwards, McHale got his against forwards and centers.

 

When the Pistons played the Celtics I wasn’t matched up against Havlicek.  It was usually Tom Sanders.  He was the Celtics’ defensive stopper, and he going to Boston I always knew I’d be in for some difficult times.  Tom played me well, and that was only part of it.  There was all of that talent and tradition, and the great Bill Russell.  He was the league MVP, and probably the greatest player ever.  So playing Boston was not an easy assignment.

 

CELTIC-NATION
Following five seasons with the Pistons, you found yourself playing for a new team.  Please tell me how you ended up in Baltimore, and what it was like to reach the Western Division Finals against the Lakers.

 BAILEY HOWELL
Baltimore was an expansion team – they were known as the Chicago Zephyrs during the 1961-62 season, but then moved to Baltimore and changed their name to the Bullets.  They had some successful teams early on.  In Detroit, we finished second in the West to the St. Louis Hawks (1959-60) and then really struggled.  We didn’t win half of our games after that, but each season we seemed to improve.  I felt that we were getting ready to contend for the Western Division title.  Coach Dick McGuire retired after the 1962-63 season, and then the Pistons brought in Charlie Wolf.  Charlie had coached the Cincinnati Royals for three seasons prior to taking over in Detroit.  He changed a lot of things and, looking back, he made a lot of bad decisions.  We won only 23 games that year.  The Pistons didn’t fire him – instead, they decided to make a gigantic trade involving a bunch of players.  Four or five went to Baltimore, along with a draft choice, and three or four of the Bullet players ended up with the Pistons.  The Pistons started the next season 2-9 and Wolf was fired.  They were able to rebuild with players like Dave Bing and Dave DeBusschere, and really get the franchise back on its feet.

 

The Bullets had a really good club, but the team concept was lacking.  We won most of our home games, lost most of our road games, and never really figured out how to play together.  We won thirty-seven games that season and wound up in third place in our division.  We played the Hawks in the opening round of the playoffs, splitting the two games in St. Louis and then winning the next two at home.  We just couldn’t beat the Lakers on the road.  They took us 4-2 in that series.  All six games were competitive.

 

 CELTIC-NATION
In 1966, Red Auerbach sent Mel Counts to Baltimore in exchange for a rugged, multi-talented All-Star named Bailey Howell.  What was it like coming to Boston, and what do you remember most about that first season?

 BAILEY HOWELL
It was a big thrill to go to a club with mediocre success to a team that had won eight NBA championships in a row.  I got to play with players like Sam Jones, John Havlicek and Bill Russell, which was very special for me because they were such special people.  The Celtics were the defending champions when I arrived, but they were aging together as a team.  The key players were brought in at roughly the same time, and the team always had the last pick in the draft.  That made it much harder to bring young guys along, so Red offset this by making trades to improve the team.  Willie Naulls is a good example of this.  Don Nelson and Wayne Embry played for the Celtics because of Red’s shrewdness.

Mel Counts was a backup center, a seven-footer who couldn’t shoot from outside.  And because Russell was playing forty-eight minutes a game, Counts never got the opportunity to play.  Red used this to his advantage.  He had an unknown commodity, so he built Counts up in the eyes of the Baltimore brass.  There was a glut of forwards on the team at the time, thanks to a trade with New York, and there wasn’t really a center on the roster.  Johnny Kerr was at the end of his career, and he was dealing with back problems.  Bob Ferry wasn’t really big enough to play center.  So when the Bullets traded Walt Bellamy to the Knicks just eight games into the 1965-66 season, the team began to explore trade opportunities.  They decided to part with either a Bailey Howell or a Gus Johnson in order to get their center.  It was a big break for me.

 

CELTIC-NATION
The great Bill Russell was your teammate during your first three seasons in Boston.  Please tell me about Mr. Russell.  How did he handle the dual roles of player/coach?

 BAILEY HOWELL
It was a very difficult job, without question, but he handled it well.  The team was getting up in years.  Philly was the up-and-coming team.  The previous season the Sixers had the better record, and then they set the record for most wins.  They had players like Wilt Chamberlain, Hal Greer and Billy Cunningham.  And after Philly beat us 4-1 in the playoffs, everyone from the media to the fans was saying that the dynasty was over.  Boston was dead.  But we still had Bill Russell, and that was the biggest factor working in our favor.  Great players make the game easier for his teammates.  Bill did that.  He was the greatest MVP that ever walked onto the floor.

As a coach, Bill learned a lot that first year.  He also had a veteran team, which really helped, because the players knew what it took to win a championship.  I’m not so sure it would have worked if he had a roster full of younger players.  He was able to win championships those last two years, even though the team was continuing to age, and even though the Celtics were winning few games during the regular season.  We were 48-34 in 1968-69, but we were able to win the games that counted.  Bill deserves a lot of credit for that.

 

CELTIC-NATION
It would be hard to find a greater guard than the incomparable Sam Jones.  Please tell me about the incomparable Mr. Jones – what was it like to have him as a teammate?

 BAILEY HOWELL
Sam was a great person, a prolific scorer, and a complete basketball player.  He was also a big guard with a magic touch.  Whatever he did, he did well – whether is was playing cards, basketball, or anything else for that matter.  Anyone who played with him knew that Sam was a competitor and a winner.  The Celtics had a lot of guys like that.

Sam was at his most productive on the nights when the Celtics needed him most.  He was always a better player in the big games – not because he was holding back at other times, but because he loved to play under pressure.  He could raise his game when the stakes were the highest.  Sam Jones was a joy to play with.

 

CELTIC-NATION
In 1967, the Celtics had their streak of 8 consecutive NBA championships snapped.  Many experts thought that Boston was too old to win another title, but in 1968 that’s exactly what happened.  Please take me back to that championship series against the Lakers.  What was it like for you to finally win an NBA championship?

 BAILEY HOWELL
It was very satisfying.  We won that ’68 title by beating the Lakers in six games, the last of which was in Los Angeles.  That didn’t surprise me, because our road record that year was outstanding.  We took two of three road games against Detroit in the first round of the playoffs, three-of-four from Philly in the Eastern Division Finals, and then two-of-three from the Lakers to win it all.  Philly had the best record in the league again, with basically the same club that won the title the year before, and we finished even farther behind them in the standings.  But we played better at the most crucial times.  We won Game 1, Game 5 and Game 7 in Philly – in our minds, the team that presented the biggest obstacle in winning it all.  We were favored to beat the Lakers, and we dominated them.

The next year Wilt was traded to Los Angeles.  They weren’t the same without him, and we beat the Sixers 4-1 in the opening round.  New York was developing a really good club at that time, with players like Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Dick Barnett, Dave DeBusschere and Bill Bradley.  They were the up-and-coming team, but we beat them head-to-head and ended up facing the Lakers again in the Finals.

 

 CELTIC-NATION
Mr. Russell walked away a world champion, the player/coach of the 1969 World Champion Boston Celtics.  The Celtics defeated the Lakers in that 1969 NBA Finals, winning that memorable Game 7 in L.A.  Please take me back to that classic series, and to Don Nelson’s jumper that rattled home to win it.

 BAILEY HOWELL
We barely made the playoffs that season.  We were 48-34, but we were able to put it together in the playoffs.  The Finals against the Lakers was a tough, competitive, hard, monumental struggle.  We prevailed, but I remember having no energy left after it was over.  I was so tired, but it still felt great because we’d won another championship.

That seventh game was famous for a number of reasons.  Everyone remembers that Wilt took himself out of the game with a leg injury, and that [Laker head coach] Butch van Breda Kolff refused to let him back on the court with the game close in the fourth quarter.  There was about six minutes left in the game when Wilt twisted his right knee and left the game, but what many people don’t know is how mad Russell was when that happened.  He was really angry, because the Lakers were really being beaten when Wilt left.  In his mind it ruined a good game.  Russell wanted to win the championship with both teams at their best, and he openly questioned whether Wilt was seriously injured.  He felt that Wilt wanted out because the Celtics were winning the game so decisively, and that the injury was an excuse to leave the game.  It tarnished the last battle between the game’s two greatest centers.  They eventually patched things up, but for many years that game was a great source of friction between them.  That says something about Russell’s competitive drive.

Wilt’s injury changed the momentum of the game.  We had a letdown after that.  Mel Counts came off the bench and helped to spark a Laker rally, and suddenly the game got tight.  Wilt wanted to return, but van Breda Kolff wouldn’t let him back off the bench.  And then Don Nelson hit that big jumper, the one that rattled home and helped us win the series.

The other memory is one of all of those balloons – Laker owner Jack Kent Cooke had thousands of them hanging in a giant net high above the court, ready for the championship celebration.  Russell and Sam Jones took one look at that, got very angry, and used it as a source of motivation.  They were going to make sure that those balloons didn’t come down.

 

CELTIC-NATION
Everyone, it seems, has their favorite Red Auerbach story.  Do you have one that stands out?

 BAILEY HOWELL
I only played for Red in two All-Star Games and one regular season game, because Red had retired as head coach after the 1965-66 season.  There was a terrible snowstorm coming in off the ocean that first season.  It dumped a lot of snow in Boston, making it really hard to get around.  Well, back then we used to play doubleheaders, which meant that the visiting team would arrive in town a day early, and on this occasion it actually made it easier for our opponent to reach the Boston Garden.  They were already in a downtown hotel.  The only Boston players who made it to the game that night were the ones who lived close.  I walked a mile over frozen tracks to make it.  John Havlicek got stuck on the Mystic River Bridge – he left his wife and car and walked in.  Russell got stuck on the same bridge, but he wasn’t about to abandon his Lamborghini [laughs].

So Russell didn’t make it that night.  Red called a timeout during the game, and in the huddle he looked over to me.  I hadn’t been shooting the ball well.  Red said, “Howell, don’t worry about missing those shots.  I’ll worry about you missing those shots.  Just make sure that you take the open shot – if you don’t, then you’re going to be sitting on the bench with me.”  Well, I went on to have one of my most productive nights.  I think I scored thirty-seven points.  Red was a genius at handling people.

 

CELTIC-NATION
On September 29, 1997 you received basketball’s highest honor.  Please take me back to that special day, and your induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

 BAILEY HOWELL
That was icing on the cake for me.  Many of my heroes – the people that I admired and looked up to – were already in the Hall of Fame, so it was a thrill to join them.  I really don’t have the words to describe what I felt that night.  It was a great evening.  I was very proud – most of my family was there, so it was one of the big highlights of my life.  To be recognized in my profession as one of the people who achieved, as one who tried to reach my full potential…it was a very humbling experience.  I’ll never forget it.

 

CELTIC-NATION
Final Question:  You’ve achieved great success in your life.  You are universally respected and admired by many people, both inside and outside of the NBA.  If you could offer one piece of advice on life to others, what would that be?

 BAILEY HOWELL
Don’t take any shortcuts.  Be willing to go the extra mile, and to do things the right way.

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