Adrian Griffin will join fellow former Celtic Tom Thibodeau’s staff in Chicago. (Journal Times)
Now, two years later, Griffin has beaten the odds again. Monday, he was on the verge of being hired as a bench coach for new Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.
At 36, Griffin will become one of the youngest bench coaches in the NBA.
“I am very fortunate,” Griffin said. “I was just a player two years ago and now I’m a coach. It’s very competitive to make an NBA team as a player, but it’s even more competitive to become an NBA coach. There are only a few of them (usually five) on each team.
“God has been good to me.”
Those who don’t remember Griffin from his Celtics days are probably trying to forget some of the worst years in Celtics history. But Griffin was somebody to root for.
He began his professional basketball career by being undrafted after graduating Seton Hall. He then spent three years playing in Italy and the CBA, toiling in basketball’s minor leagues and honing his craft. Finally, in 1999, the Celtics gave him his chance. Though he never posted great stats, Griffin wouldn’t disappoint.
He was the rare NBA player who couldn’t shoot and couldn’t dribble, wasn’t athletic and wasn’t too tall, but still managed to carve himself a role on most teams he played for. And I say the previous sentence with the utmost respect. It’s not a bad thing that Griffin had very few skills; it’s merely remarkable that he was able to overcome his many shortcomings to succeed in the best basketball league in the world. He used grit, intelligence and pure heart to play nine seasons in the NBA, never impressing casual fans but always earning a spot in coaches’ hearts. If you can’t respect a player like Griffin, you don’t value hard work.
I’m sure the qualities that helped him stay in the NBA are now the same ones making him one of the NBA’s youngest bench coaches. Congrats, Adrian. If you don’t become a hell of a coach, I’m positive it won’t be due to lack of effort.