Avery Johnson re-joining ESPN’s NBA team
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
If Avery Johnson isn’t coaching in the NBA, he wants the next best thing: analyzing the league on TV. That’s exactly what he will do – again.
Johnson, who was fired as coach of the Brooklyn Nets in December, is re-joining ESPN’s television coverage of the NBA and will appear on NBA Coast 2 Coast, NBA Tonight and SportsCenter, Johnson told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday.
Johnson, who will make his in-studio debut on Oct. 21, worked for ESPN from 2008-10 after losing his coaching job with the Dallas Mavericks.
“I had such a great time during my two-year stint with ESPN, that was the first phone call I made when I knew that I was not going to go back to coaching right now,” Johnson said. “I really enjoy working with the staff at ESPN, the access to so much information and stats and just staying close to the game. Because we’re always on TV, I had to watch games morning, noon and night, and it really made me feel like it was the next best thing close to coaching. It reminds me of the preparation I undertook as a coach.”
Johnson has a great basketball mind and grew into his role at ESPN, using his ability to see what is happening on the court and it break it down for viewers.
“You have to make sure you are prepared and articulate your material where it’s clear to the audience,” Johnson said.
He has no problem being critical, if that’s what is necessary. “The main thing is you have to do your job,” Johnson said. “When you’re working for ESPN, your loyalties lie first with the network because they’re the ones giving you the platform to do something you’re really passionate about, and I’m passionate about television work.
“I have to make sure that whatever topic we’re discussing that I communicate in such a way that fans and viewers can appreciate the material. It has to be truthful. You have to be accurate.”
Johnson said the 2013-14 season is laced with intrigue.
“Can Miami get to the Finals for the fourth straight year and … [For more on Avery Johnson re-joining ESPN's NBA coverage team, click here.]