Where Are They Now: Adam Keefe
What are you doing now?
My playing days ended in ’03, and I went right into the investment world and joined a firm — I’ve lived in Los Angeles ever since, and joined a investment firm out of San Francisco that subsequently sold their business to SunTrust Bank based out of Atlanta, and so I’ve been working for SunTrust Bank for the last four, five years, and living in Los Angeles. …
We work with a lot of, just normal guys, but also a lot of professional athletes and professional coaches. So, it kinda keeps my toes in the pool, so to speak, in the athlete world and the sports world, and it’s been a lot of fun to try and build something and make it grow.
What was it like coming from Atlanta and stepping into a Jerry Sloan locker room in 1994?
[The Hawks] were coming off of a pretty good [playoff run], and the Jazz, I believe, were kind of coming off of an upset loss in the playoffs where there was, there were questions; there were concerns. There was a lot of movement.
You know, for me, it was great to just come into a locker room that I hadn’t seen. And in Atlanta, we had a lot of very divided locker room between Dominique Wilkins and Kevin Willis.
The Jazz was the exact opposite. Everyone was on the same page, and Kevin and Jeff [Hornacek] and John [Stockton], through their — Karl [Malone] and Jeff and John, through their leadership, were on the same page with Coach Sloan, and it just made everything so much easier.
So, it was, it, we were getting to be a well-oiled machine. I don’t think we were there yet, but you know, I think my — after a time, when w–you know, when we cracked through and made the Western Conference Finals and then the next years going to the NBA Finals, it was a great organization to be with.
Was it an easy team to integrate yourself into?
A hundred percent. It was great. You know, I tell people all the time, I’ve never seen a situation — Bryon Russell and I competed for the same spot and the same playing time on the floor for, I believe, almost four years. And we were great friends, and I just don’t think that that is a common event. And Bryon was such a big part of that team, as was I.
You know, one year in the NBA Finals for the regular season, he started the game — he kinda played the first and third, and I played the second and the fourth. And the second year for the regular season when we went to the NBA Finals, I started just about every game and played more the first and the third and he played the second and the fourth.
So, the whole team, whether it was Antoine Carr or Howard Eisley or Shandon Anderson, the guys were really good guys and I think that that’s what made the team so special.
** His twin daughters, who were born during his stint with the Jazz, will play volleyball at Stanford next year. They recently played in a tournament in Utah with Jerry Sloan’s granddaughter.
What was it like playing for Jerry Sloan?
[He treated everyone the same.] That’s exactly how he coached. And he expected Karl and John to be on time and run hard in line drills and do everything that the guys who weren’t playing a lot were gonna do. I think everyone would say he was a very fair coach. He was very forthright and upfront.
You know, he w–there was no politics behind his style of coaching. And you know, more than anything, you appreciated that. You just wanted someone to evaulate you on your ability to contribute to the team, which is what I think his greatest strength was.
And I — even to this day, I think that maybe the legacy of Jerry Sloan is seen in the Spurs organization with Gregg Popovich. There’s no doubt that Popovich kind of modeled what he wanted to do after Sloan and the Jazz, and you’ve seen the success they’ve had.
Did the Finals losses stick with you at all?
You know, I think the second year when we lost when we had home court advantage did, or does. You know, I think we had a real opportunity to win that series, and we just kinda seemed to get out of what we were doing and what we were good at. And you know, to sa–to look back and second-guess is always easy, but the truth of the matter is, there’s a lot of pressure.
Things change — coaches, management, you know, everyone’s trying to do what they think is best to help the team win. And you know, we got away from our starting lineup that started the whole year. We kind of ended up, you know, looking for answers. I actually think I might’ve started Game 6 at center, which, you know, I hadn’t played a lick of center the entire season. I was playing small forward.
And so, that was the only thing that kinda sticks out a little bit to me, is I, you know, I would’ve loved to have given them the best Jazz effort and the best team effort that we had. Now, we gave them — the physical effort was there, but I think we kinda got away from our roots of what got us there.
But that’s, those are very, very difficult questions, and you know, the fact of that matter is, we were playing one of the greatest basketball teams in the history of basketball. It wasn’t just a good team; it was a great team.
Any good Karl Malone practice clash stories?
You know, Karl was maybe one of the best teammates I’ve ever had, and that’s just not in games when he’s scoring 30 and getting 20 rebounds. Literally in practice, he was one of the best teammates I’ve ever had.
I’ve never seen him take a cheap shot at someone, a teammate or a f–or a player. I’ve never seen him want anything but success for his teammates.
He was a gu–he was a tremendous passing post for a big guy. He would set screens for people. He was just a great team player…I mean, the most amazing thing about him was just how big and how strong he was. That’s what was amazing, day in, day out. To be able to play against that in practice was a, was great for me. (KALL)