tv Tavis Smiley PBS July 14, 2010 3:11pm-3:30pm PST
how do you assess the fans in new orleans after everywhere you have been in your career? >> not having had a chance to live there in that area, we had just come from dallas where we had been with the cowboys, and i had been with the giants and philadelphia eagles, where i coached for the better part of 11 years, and we found was, again, right after katrina, all of a sudden, an area of people that had a history with their team, although their team did not have a great history, grandfathers, fathers who had seen the team play in the early but although there had been some trying times, there was something uniquely different. they seemed to believe in that next season, that next season, and it took them 43 years, but they were there, and what was more interesting is after
katrina, et the superdome sold out in 2006 and had a waiting list for season tickets that first 2006 season. 2007, they were sold out again with a pretty good waiting list. 2008, 2009, probably 55,000 people on a waiting list, in a very small area, in an area where people might say they struggle making the payment on coming up with those dollars for entertainment, and it is what they do on sundays, is an area -- and it is an area where basketball has been relatively new with the hornets. lsu is significant up the road, but on sunday, the new orleans saint kosc have been there keynote -- saints have been their team. what you just asked me, the unique bond of this community, that all of us have fallen in
love with, was really what inspired us, because i did not want a project, we did not want a project that was going to be winning on the field or off of the field or leadership. this book was going to be more about, hey, this is pretty unique here, and shortly after katrina to the super bowl parade, this is our story, and we do think that we have got the best fans in the world. tavis: you mentioned earlier the distractions that exist. of course, any city has distractions. its own unique kinds of distractions. but in the evaluation processes, because every team has to go through this, how do you know, how do you figure out who you are drafting, trading for, bringing in the right kind of players that can handle the unique distractions of this
particular environment? >> that is a great question. obviously, the combination of first finding the player that has the talent to be successful in our league, but trying to find a player that is motivated past money, that is motivated to excel. i think it is. what i mean by that is, certainly, what you are trying to find is that person who is driven to be great, and, certainly, and they are going to make an awful lot of money, and it is not as much as a basketball player might or a baseball player, but a person who is driven to win, and are be perfect with that, no, but i do think that there can be mistakes made that can set you back if you are not attempting to do that, and i think that became one of our big focal point in 2006 with the draft, with free agency.
it was really trying to identify those players that we felt had something uniquely special, and that might be interviewing high school coaches, college counselors as best as we could to research a player's background, and even with the signing of drew brees with the shoulder injury that he had, the most telling sign is that he would overcome something like that. he was so successful in high school and college, and he has always followed that, and if we continue to try to find the right players that put winning first and put the team first, and i have said this before. new england gave as the blueprint in the early mid part of 2000, 2002. they were teams that we put the team first, and it was an organization that had great coaching, great quarterback players, but also a philosophy
that they stood strong to, and we tried to pay attention to that. tavis: let me throw these three at you, and i know two in particular say something, but i throw them all into the category of distractions because they could be. there reggie bush bashing u.s. see story, and maybe even the victory itself -- the reggie bush-usc story. with those and the other distractions in the off season? >> i think, number one, you go back to being on what we just talked about. you lean on leadership in the locker room, and we are a team that since we began in 2006, we have been displaced for a week in indianapolis. we played over in london, england, for one week. we are a team that has been able
to handle that spotlight, if you will. this was our goal beginning in 2006, to be successful, and knowing that with success comes just what you are talking about, be in the vicodin issue that came up after the end of the regular season, certainly with usc, andcase involving then clumping what is i guess the super bowl hang over potentially together, i think you come right out and discuss those things and talk about being special and once again leading strongly on the character in the locker room and the leadership in the locker room and studying closely history and how it has been fairly unkind, if you will, two teams who have success the year
after the super bowl, so looking at our schedule and adjusting some of those things and yet taking some of those things square on, and thinking that if we truly want to be special, then here is our chance to show it. tavis: you are so open about many things in the book, and you mentioned leadership. have you had any sense since the vicodin story that your team was let down? >> not all. i think that with our team and the success, there was a next employee for the better part of europe have had pretty much come to the club looking for -- there was an ex- employee who came for the better part of a year and a half. this is something that really has become a club matter with
handling in what is now arbitration, but his leadership throughout this has been outstanding, and i think our team has seen that, as well, and i think our team understands clearly the motives behind this, and that is what they are a lot more privy to because they work with individuals on a daily basis. tavis: it is impossible to have a super bowl winning coach here and not talk about sports more broadly. your thoughts on the lebron james trig to mon ami, and i ask this question -- traded to miami. it was too narcissistic. the whole espn thing. what is your sense of how a player, nomatter how big or small, making that kind of decision, how to deal with the
media? >> whitson. i think, certainly, we have seen in a very short period of time the landscape of sports has constantly been changing -- listen. as someone who is not as familiar with the basketball salary structure, i do appreciate and understand -- this is the first time that i can recall outside of chicago, and remembering when michael jordan was drafted, and we had hard times for awhile there. we could not get past detroit. and then, finally, we acquired a player, and the other players who were going to be instrumental in that team having success. i think there is a traditionalist in me that loves to see the play year, the magic johnson, who is in l.a., the larry bird in boston, so when it
changes a little, and, hey, that is the landscape of basketball. everything that was just done was done haute and collectively bargained for. i think what was a little different -- was done was collectively bargained for. i think what was of a different was a television show to announce the decision. but i really felt like it was the "idol" final. i tell you what, it has changed, and i think that is what sells. the ratings or off of the charts, i understand, we too were off of the charts. now, back to the traditional " side of me -- their ratings were off of the charts, i understand. now, back to the traditionalists
side of me. let's make history here so no one looks back on it and says that we just put together this conglomeration that won four championships. i understand that, in the success that kobe has had here, i think it is a little sweeter. it was a little uniquely different this season in the nba than i can ever recall. yes, and the way it just seemed that it was something big, and just like our week, it is a very small business when you look at ownership, coaches, players -- just like in our league. those are big decisions. tavis: are you hopeful about your chances next year? >> i am very hopeful. i am very hopeful.
i have said this before. we have talked about it as a team. that moment last year was certainly something, but we also believe this is our time, and we have gotten younger it. the bulk of our players are back. i think we are ready for the challenge. tavis: and how do you feel, since it is about the home team, how do you feel five years later? " >> i think, probably stronger than any one season. that is a certainty. now, what is more important is how efficiently and how quickly it is done, but it is the strength of that group of people and their ability to shoulder what is the gulf problem now with the oil, to shoulder,
continue to shoulder, katrina challenges, and it is what has made that region so different, and it is what has made those people special. tavis: as they navigate their way forward through these trials and tribulations, the home team is, of course, the new orleans saints, with their coach, sean payton. coaching the saints and new orleans back to life is his new book. thank you so much. thanks for tuning in. until next time, keep the faith. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at pbs.org. tavis: hi, i am tavis smiley. join us next time with sam nunn.
>> all i know is his name is james, and he needs extra help with his reading. >> i am james. >> yes. >> to everyone making a difference, you help us all live better. >> nationwide insurance proudly supports tavis smiley. with every question and every answer, nationwide insurance is prone to join tavis smiley to help improve financial literacy and the economic and power meant. -- economic empowerment. >> and by contributions to pbs by viewers like you. thank you. ♪ [captioning made possible by kcet public television] captioned by the national captioning institute
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