Twenty questions with the Suns’ Mike D’Antoni, who will coach the Western Conference in Sunday’s All-Star game in Las Vegas: (And no mention of Steve Nash, defense or Dallas).
1. Who do you listen to on your i-Pod?
“Robert Cray and a lot of ’70s Motown. I love the Spinners, Van Morrison. Those are the main guys.”
2. What was the last book you read?
“I love books. Probably my favorite was “Shogun.” “Agony and Ecstasy.” I love all Robert Ludlum novels. Any James Michener stuff. I like all that.”
3. Describe your perfect day away from basketball.
“Probably playing 18 holes of golf somewhere and being with my family out for dinner. Not a fancy dinner but a fun dinner, hanging out with my wife and sons.”
4. What’s your handicap in golf?
“Talent. I’m a 14. When I was 20 years old I had a 14 handicap and now I’m 55 and I have a 14 handicap. I never play that much.”
5. What’s the worst Christmas gift you got as a kid?
“I don’t think there was a worst. There was a Christmas when I went from a kid to a teenager and so you go from toys to clothes. That was like, 'Oh my gosh.’ That was disturbing.”
6. What was the best Christmas gift?
“Bikes. My brother (Dan) and I got two bikes. I was so excited I couldn’t stand it.”
7. Your take on the war in Iraq.
“Shouldn’t have been there. More complicated than what was led to believe. Now there’s no easy solution. It’s hard to say it in one or two words, and I understand the problems, but we shouldn’t have been there.”
8. You were described as a Libertarian in Sports Illustrated writer Jack McCallum’s book on the Suns. Is that accurate?
“No, that’s more my brother. I hope I’m in the middle. I’m on the side of common sense. The extremes on both sides bother me. I think life is a little bit gray area. It’s not black and white. It’s gray. I think what you do is use kindness and adjust your positions and if you try to do that things will be better. I think common sense has gone out of society.”
9. How would your wife, Laurel, describe you?
“I hope she describes me as somebody that has a lot of manners and really cares about family.”
10. What’s your strategy at blackjack?
“I think the first strategy in any kind of gambling game is the aura you go into the game with. If your aura is happy and good and you feel loose, I think you’ve got a chance to win. If you go in with any kind of aura that’s down, you have no chance whatsoever. My strategy is common sense. I go by the book by a certain degree. But there are times you’ve got to feel the cards, and sometimes I mess up.”
11. What kind of driver are you?
“Very good. I grew up in Italy where they had no speed limits and Milan where they had no lanes. Literally you just go. I think I’m good. You probably just jinxed me, but in the 39 years I’ve been driving I’ve never had an accident. No fender-bender, nothing. I had one ticket when I was 20.”
12. What was the worst fight you and Dan got into as kids, and who won?
“To be honest with you, I don’t think we ever got into a fight. I know one time he broke his ankle and got out of the cast and I took his ankle and was twisting the hell out of it. He was about ready to kill me. He would have beaten the holy hell out of me. He was littler than I was, but he would beat me from racing to basketball to fighting. He’s a tough fighter. See, I didn’t have to get into fights because he did it for me.”
13. Were you the mama’s boy?
“Absolutely. I never did anything wrong.”
14. What’s the secret to your marriage?
“The secret is probably give-and-take. Mostly give. I think that’s a secret. Trying to be more attentive. And having a good wife, that’s the best thing. It’s the same thing as a coach. You’ve got a good team, you can coach. You don’t have a good team, you can’t coach.”
15. What TV shows do you watch?
“I don’t watch a lot, but I do like “Medium.” It’s good, man. “Boston Legal” a couple of years ago, but I think it’s gotten kind of wacky.”
16. What about a person drives you crazy?
17. If you were NBA commissioner for a day, what would you do?
“Boy, that’s a tough one. I don’t know if I’d do anything. I’d just keep it the way it is. I think it’s going pretty good right now.”
18. You’ve travelled the world as a player and coach. What’s your favorite spot?
“Probably Italy. Lake Como. Venice. Lake Como is where they (Luke and Princess Leia) get married on “Star Wars.”
19. Are you a dog or cat person?
“Cat. I’m really not an animal person. My wife made me get cats. The reason I’m not an animal person is you get tied to them and you’re going to outlive them so there’s going to be heartbreak somewhere.”
20. What do you want to do when you’re 60?
“Still coach the Phoenix Suns. This is what I get up for. I think it’s important to have something really exciting. This is exciting.”
Listen to Scott Bordow every Monday at 1:25 p.m. on The Fan (1060 AM) with Bob Kemp.