Michael Finley was signed by the Boston Celtics, and took Marquis Daniels’ minutes. In a normal situation, that would strain a relationship. Jealousy, competition, and playing time have been the cause of many spats between teammates throughout the years.
But Finley and Daniels don’t have a normal situation. As Jessica Camerato highlights in an excellent piece for WEEI, the two have been friends since Daniels was “Finley’s rookie” during their Dallas Maverick days.
“We have a good relationship,” Finley said. “He came in as a rookie not knowing much about the NBA and I just pretty much took him under my wing just to show him the ins-and-outs of being an NBA professional. What made it easy was he was a good kid and he was willing to learn and he always just wanted the best for him. It was just an easy transition, our friendship.”
Finley continued, “[Off the court, we were] just playing video games, going out to eat, going out to clubs, just hanging out. More like a brotherly type relationship that we had early on. Again, because I liked him. A lot of guys you come in contact with and they have a big ego and it’s hard to get along with them. But he was a real humble kid, a good basketball player, and it all just worked out for us.”
Now, the roles have been reversed, and Daniels has become Finley’s mentor. Doc Rivers says it was easy for the two “high character” players to switch roles, because they are both trustworthy and have a very good relationship. And, in case you thought Daniels’ lack of playing time would strain the relationship at all, think again.
“Yeah he’s always going to be my rookie,” Finley said, laughing. “As long as he’s alive and well, he’ll be my rookie. But that’s the bond that we have. I only have a couple guys who I consider my rooks in my lifetime and he’s definitely one of my favorites.”
“He thinks [I’m still his rookie],” Daniels said, smiling again. “He’s a great guy.”
Read the rest of the piece. It’s a really good one.