Last weekend, approximately 200 basketball hopefuls took the courts of Basketball City in the Big Apple to strut their stuff in hopes of catching the eye of a key NBA and/or D-League executive or two.
As they all attempted to get their name out there a bit and gain exposure, a couple of more notable presences were trying to do the same thing in another regard.
Hoping that some past NBA veterans would be able to pass along some key knowledge and perhaps provide the prospects with even more motivation, the D-League welcomed a slew of past league journeymen to act as coaches during the minor league's national tryout.
The most familiar and recognizable of all the NBA alumni present at the session was undeniably two-time NBA champion James Posey.
The swingman could be seen yelling across court giving advice to his players during scrimmages, and even made the effort to reel his team in for motivational huddles following the games. He appeared committed and went out of his way to serve as a mentor, but that's because Posey understands the type of journey the young guns are on to gain exposure as they fight for that coveted opportunity.
The two-time NBA champ went through it as a player, and now, seeks a new opportunity of his own through coaching. Speaking with RidiculousUpside.com, Posey said the tryout was a good thing for him to be involved in.
"I was invited by the league to participate and help out with the D-League tryouts. I want to get into coaching, and there are different steps to getting that opportunity," he added. "So I came here to help these kids out and make sure they understand the game. They want to get to the next level. Just as they're trying to make progress, I'm doing the same thing."
To break into the NBA as a player, many prospects (as evidenced by the potential need/demand for a D-League tryout) often have to be willing to get down and dirty, so to speak, in the NBADL. Posey insisted he wouldn't be opposed to doing the same thing with regard to coaching.
He added, "Oh yea, I'm open to pretty much everything. I'm trying to get my feet wet. I know I have some learning and growing of my own to do. I'm here today. I've done the Top 100 Camp the past two summers, and I've been involved in the Assistant Coaching Program in Portsmouth too. I've been busy, because I understand the type of dedication and hard work you need to put in."
Pondering a potential D-League gig even further, Posey recognized the fact that maintaining relationships with teams for whom you've played for before is important. The Celtics and the Heat (the two teams the NBA vet won championships with) are now both entered in single NBADL affiliations, with the Maine Red Claws and Sioux Falls Skyforce, respectfully.
"You always try and revisit the relationships you have with different coaches and organizations," Posey said. "Hopefully if it's the right time, they'll have an opportunity for you to come join their staff. I've just been networking. But I think it's great each of the NBA teams is acquiring their own D-League teams, because they're able to make sure the affiliate understands their system and the way they do things."
A veteran of twelve NBA seasons and seven teams, Posey bounced around and was put into a position where he needed to figure out where/how he could be a valuable asset to a squad's success. As the NBA continues to become a league truly dominated (and often dictated) by star power, D-League players are often tasked with learning how to emerge as a perfect complementary piece, a la Danny Green for the San Antonio Spurs.
Though Posey never played in the D-League, he too was faced with such a task, and often stepped up in the clutch due to his long-range shooting and gritty defense on some of the league's top players. Perhaps such success makes him stand out as a perfect role model for NBADL athletes.
"Hey, that's what I was just telling my team," he added. "Whatever opportunity you get, you have to accept it as your role. You have to do your best to find your niche to stay in. If you're able to do that, you give yourself that chance. I've been able to do that since college. You have to realize that once you reach the NBA, everyone can't be 'the man.' Got to find your niche."