Dallas Mavericks: Rick Carlisle pays tribute to Mike Carey

Tyler Watts
Dallas Mavericks Rick Carlisle (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks Rick Carlisle (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /

Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle paid his respects with a tribute to former Celtics beat writer Mike Carey, the man who indirectly helped Carlisle get into coaching.

The Dallas Mavericks won their lone championship in 2011 with Rick Carlisle as head coach. Carlisle replaced Avery Johnson in 2008. He was on pace to lead them to the playoffs for the eighth time in 12 seasons before play was halted this season.

Carlisle was the head coach for the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers before coming to Dallas. He led both teams to the Eastern Conference Finals. Carlisle is one of the best coaches in the NBA. That all makes no mention of his 11 seasons as assistant split between the Nets, Blazers, and Pacers.

What some may not know is Carlisle was an NBA player before getting into coaching. He was drafted in the third round in 1984 by the Celtics. Carlisle was a member of their 1986 championship team. He made a cameo in The Last Dance attempting to guard Michael Jordan in those playoffs.

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Carlisle played five seasons in the league. Three with the Celtics, one in New York, and a final season with the Nets.

During his time in Boston, he got to know and became friends with legendary beat writer Mike Carey. He was the man that covered all three Celtics championships in the 1980s for the Boston Herald. Carey passed away on April 26. Carlisle wanted to honor the legend, so he gathered some quotes from his former Celtics teammates. Fans can see the full article from the Boston Herald here.

Carlisle had this to say in his tribute to Carey.

"“Mike had strong relationships throughout the NBA. In 1989, he called Bill Fitch for me to see if he could get me one last shot at staying in the league as a player. Coach Fitch had just taken the New Jersey Nets job and agreed to give me a chance. A month later, Fitch cut me as a player and hired me as an assistant coach — both in the same phone call. Now in my 30th year of NBA coaching, I owe a lot to Mike Carey.”"

It turns out Carey indirectly got Carlisle his first coaching gig along with keeping him the NBA a bit longer. Carlisle missed the entire 1988-1989 season because of a shoulder injury. That was coming off a year where he played in just 26 games for the Knicks. He played in just five games for the Nets before taking that coaching gig. For more on this story click here.

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Carey went on to be an agent, professor, and author after he moved on from the Celtics beat. He will clearly be missed. May he rest in peace.