The Curious Mouth of Mike Woodson


Say what you will about the grooming, player relationships and strategic idiosyncracies—okay, flat-out, self-admitted errors—of Atlanta Hawks’ coach Mike Woodson. The man with the Just For Men goatee has a Yogi Berraian way with words. Now, as his team’s frustratingly successful (or successfully frustrating?) season falls away like Josh Smith after a wild jumper, let’s re-examine a few of Woody’s finer points of oratory, which I’ve collected, mostly without context, in a small notebook titled, “Huh?—Woodyisms.”

“We can’t sit here and say he’s not in our future plans, because the reason he’s here is because he’s in our future.”

“We made them play their starters big minutes. That’s what you want, but their starters are as good as anyone in the league.”

“I thought we had enough guys on the bench to win this game.”

“I can’t fault our guys and their effort. We were our own worst enemy tonight coming down the stretch.”

“Again, when we won the first game, I’m sure they were down after that.
They had to be thinking we had to win three more to get to the next
round. I’m thinking the same thing. I have to get these guys thinking
the right way.”

“That’s why he’s doing what he’s doing and we’re doing what we’re doing. What he says don’t amount to nothing. Again, I don’t even know why I’ve wasted my words on Jon Barry.”

“Last year we would have cringed when he shot the
basketball. Now his shot looks like a shot. He’s 100 percent better
than he was last year, but he still has a long way to go.”

“Do we throw in the towel for Game 4? Hell, no, we shouldn’t do that.
I’m going to push our guys to make sure they don’t throw in the towel.”

“I’m somewhat surprised, but I’m not the guy making the decisions.”

“As the head coach, I’ve got everything under control.”

As much joy as I get from these strange strings of words, I hope the Hawks have a new coach next year who makes more sense—with his words, line-ups, and plays.