The Knicks' game in Atlanta tonight marks Mike Woodson's first return to Atlanta, the city in which he coached for six years, as the head coach of a different team (Woodson is the coach of the Knicks, New York's basketball franchise. New York is a city in the Eastern United States). Woodson, according to some reports, didn't leave Atlanta on the best of terms, and there's all sorts of underlying intrigue in tonight's Knicks-Hawks match-up. Items of said intrigue:
1. Via Peachtree Hoops, Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal Constitution (pretty cool that Atlanta's newspaper doubles as a governing document) tells of a bit of a falling out between Woodson and current Hawks head coach Larry Drew:
"We haven’t talked," Woodson said. "I just want to talk about basketball. Let’s keep it that way."
Drew confirmed that the two haven’t talked since Woodson left, and it’s not hard to figure why.
To get his first head-coaching job, Drew had to convince Hawks owners that he would do things differently than Woodson. Drew also told the owners he had ideas that Woodson never implemented–ideas that the owners also favored.
You can see why that might lead Woody to think his old friend and former teammate turned on him. But the bigger problem, according to Woody confidants, is that Woody believes Drew was making his case to be head coach with the team’s owners while Woody still had the job.
2. Not only is Atlanta the place where Woodson coached for six years, it's also where his departed brow hairs are buried. If you don't know the story, learn about it. Howard Beck got word that the brows were scorched in a cigar-related accident, but Cunningham cleared things up this afternoon. Still...INTRIGUING!
3. One other thing: Woodson chose his words poorly when remarking on Jeremy Lin's injury today. His use of the word "if" caused some alarm, which prompted the Knicks to (selectively) clarify, which made some folks VERY GRUMPY. Maybe Woodson was just speaking carelessly, or maybe the Knicks are (as some have suggested) trying to hide something? INTRIGUING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11
So, uh, anyway, this is a special night for Woodson. It'll be interesting to hear what he has to say before and after the game, and also to see the Atlanta crowd's response to his presence. In the meantime, it's interesting to see what folks at Peachtree Hoops have to say about Woodson (including in the comments) here and here.