Earl Watson Hour on KALL – Highlights
If you missed it, Earl Watson sat down with KALL for a full hour before the team departed for the Land of No Lakes. You can find the podcast here, but if you’re short on time, here are my favorite bits:
One. [Are there chemistry problems?] As a group, we’re amazing. Anytime you go through a losing streak, it’s something. It has to be something, and it all boils down to just chemistry. The chemistry problems isn’t that we don’t get along; the chemistry problems is that we’re just not in a good groove as a team. … Our team is based on a unit and the Utah Jazz has always been a unit. They had great players, but the unit always sacrifices for the full.
Two. I’ve never heard of a team that won a championship and not deal with adversity throughout the season. So that lets me know we headed in the right direction, because if we was a bad team from the beginning, losing four in a row would just be like “Oh, the Jazz lost four in a row again.” … Adversity’s a part of succeeding, so I welcome it and it’s time for us to get better and get more mental toughness and grow as a team.
Three. For me, I’ve always wanted to play for Coach Sloan. … I see him as being more of a sensitive guy. I see him as a guy that loves to compete, but at the same time loves his team. And you have to have that equal balance, and you have to have that chemistry and that inner peace in you, to be that type of coach.
Four. Gary Payton never gives anyone any compliments, never. No one’s never better than him and everyone he can beat in one-on-one and they can’t score on him. So we were about to play Utah here in Utah [during Earl’s rookie year] and shootaround was over … He was basically telling me that I was lucky to have a chance to play against [John Stockton] and I could see that that was Gary’s way of giving respect, but it was almost to the point where I was like, is Gary afraid of him? … He respected [Stockton] to the fullest, and [Stockton] was the only guy he ever gave credit to the whole time I was with him.
Five. Playing with Ronnie first of all always makes my game easier. The energy that he brings, I can feed off of it and vice versa, and it takes our energy into an explosion. He’s very versatile. He can play, he can score, he’s athletic, and his size is never a factor because he’s going to fight you no matter what.
There’s lots more, including his UCLA days (he and Baron Davis met at Nike camp when they were 15 and committed to UCLA on the same day) and his relationship with John Wooden, pickup games with Magic Johnson, and thoughts on NBA players including Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, and Russell Westbrook.