Where Are They Now: Blue Edwards
Where are you now?
I make my home in Charlotte, North Carolina. My family and I, we’ve been living there for the past 16 years. I got involved in coaching AAU basketball through coaching my — I had twin daughters that played, so I had them and plus the other few girls that were really good.
So, that developed my passion for coaching, for teaching. And so, I got really heavy into AAU basketball. I have an individual training business where I basically tr–develop skill on the court, on the basketball court. And, some other things too.
On being back in Utah
I look at Utah as being, you know, my home. This is the team and the city* that drafted me. This is where I got my start in NBA basketball. You only get that one first love, and this is definitely it.
So for me coming back here, it’s really like coming home…It’s surreal in that things are so much different, you know, but it’s still a great feeling to be back here.
* People calling Utah a city: Blue Edwards.
As a young player, did you appreciate Jerry Sloan?
I had great coaching from high school into college, so I de–and then my parents raised me to be very respectful of authority. So when I came here, I was wide, you know, wide-eyed and wide-eared. I listened, and I followed the directions as much as I possibly could.
When people look at Jerry, they think that he’s just this, you know, just this irascible, tough, mean guy. He’s not that at all. You know, he’s just focused and he, you know, he knows that he has a job to do, and he’s focused on doing his job.
So, I listened to what he said and I tried to do as much as, you know, what he, you know, instructed, and I tried to do it the way he wanted to do, and which was all-out on a professional level.
You’re gonna always butt heads with people…but all of that is good, and I think when you have a little bit of controlled in-fighting, it makes the dynamic of that relationship work a lot better.
I have the utmost respect for Jerry Sloan: then, now, when I left, when I came back, and even today because I know that he taught me a lot as a basketball player, and he helped me develop, you know, as a man as well…
Most of the basketball stuff I do now, 95 percent of it now, is stuff that I learned playing here in Utah playing under Jerry Sloan.
How hard, exactly, did Karl Malone train?
He invited me down to his house. I think he was training in Arkansas…but I did not get a chance to go. Delaney Rudd did, and Delaney Rudd, after a week, he called me. He said, “You going to work out with Karl?”
And I said, “I’m thinking about it.”
He’s like, “Don’t go. Don’t go. He gon kill you.”
I said, “What’d he do?”
He said, “Dude.” He said, “We rode a bike. It was about 5 miles around a lake.” He said, “We rode like five, six times. And then after that we went running. And then we went to the weight room.” He says, “In the weight room, you know, I’m doing my sets and I’m looking and he’s going real methodically.”
So you know, he — I didn’t get a chance to see that. I saw the results of that. But on the court, when he stepped on the court, practice or game, he was ready to go. So you know that he did the work. You weren’t gonna worry about him getting tired. You weren’t gonna worry about him getting hurt.
And as hard as he played for all the minutes he was on the basketball court, to not get, you know, hurt, or miss games — he might’ve missed, you know, a handful of games*, but that output — the input was greater than the output…And only Karl Malone and his trainers can testify to how intense the workouts were.
But me looking at that, you know, I’m like, that’s why he’s an all-pro. That’s why he’s gonna be a hall of famer, because he’s doing it when nobody’s watching.
* Six games due to injury out of 1,444 in 18 seasons; 99.6% attendance rate.
Would you have ever joined a superteam when you were playing?
No. Absolutely not — because the guys, the era that I played in, you know, the Stockton-Malones*, the Magic Johnsons, the Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, you know, those guys — they knew that they were competing against other great guys, and it’s kinda like their legacy is being judged against each other.
You want to beat those guys. You wanna, you know, the old saying is, to be the best, you gotta beat the best. So those best players wanted to beat the other guys, and so at the end of the day, you can say, hey, you know, I beat Larry Bird several times.
That’s, Isiah Thoma–I’m a huge Isiah Thomas fan. And that’s one of his claim to fame, is why he’s not, you know, liked as a player, he said, is because he had a winning record against Magic, against Michael, and against Bird, and nobody else did that.**
So, seeing these guys, you know, comprise these superteams — as a fan, it seems like they’re cheating a little bit. So when they win the titles, you gotta put a asterisk next to that, man.
* I love that he lists the Stockton-Malones as a single entity.
** Just sayin’:
Blue Edwards, Unintentional Dirty Quote Machine
On how much NBA he watches nowadays: I am an eight-minute guy.