[双语阅读] 1997年,小牛找到了建队基石,就是他们传奇的

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时间倒退回到1997年。那时,和大多数夏威夷居民一样,老Nelson很享受居住在那里的生活。他每天起床后就去打高尔夫,睡前美滋滋地喝点啤酒,彷彿活在人间天堂。终于,在三十年的篮球生涯结束后,他开始享受新家的平静,点上一根雪茄去看岛上潮起潮落。

Like most residents, Don Nelson was content with life in Hawaii. He started his days on the golf course and ended his evenings with beer, indulging in his ultimate paradise. With a 30-year basketball career behind him, Nelson was finally ready to embrace the stillness of his new setting, pick up a cigar and watch the waves in Maui.

[双语阅读] 1997年,小牛找到了建队基石,就是他们传奇的

可是小牛队的小老闆Zaccanelli打着自己的算盘。1997年,小牛的管理层正在苦苦寻找下一任总经理,老Nelson一直是他们心中的最佳人选。

The Dallas Mavericks and minority owner Frank Zaccanelli had other ideas. As the team worked tirelessly to find its next general manager in 1997, Nelson’s name kept landing at the top of the list.

“那时,我们听说尼尔已经退出联盟去了夏威夷,还听说他很享受退休的生活,而且没有复出的打算,” Zaccanelli说,「但我们都知道,Don Nelson是闲不住的。他注定是要在NBA奋斗终生的。」

「We had heard rumors through the league that Nellie was out in Hawaii, he was really happy and he wasn’t really interested in another job,」 Zaccanelli said. 「As we got to know Don Nelson, that was proven to be completely wrong. He was by his own admission a lifer in the NBA.」

那时,德州的百万富翁Ross Perot Jr.从别人手上买下了小牛队,他和Zaccanelli很快达成共识,一致认为球队需要引入真正懂球的人进入管理层。举个例子吧:在老Nelson加入球队以前,小牛队甚至没有关注过那年参加选秀的Kobe。「你看出我们那时候有多菜了吧。」 Zaccanelli说道。

When Texas billionaire Ross Perot Jr. bought the Mavericks from original owner Don Carter, he and Zaccanelli quickly realized they needed more basketball people in the room. Leading up to the 1996 NBA draft, before they added Nelson, the Mavs didn’t even have Kobe Bryant on their draft board. 「Gives you an idea of where the franchise was at the time,」 Zaccanelli said.

儘管没有订到专座,Zaccaneli还是立刻飞去了夏威夷。他很快意识到,这次行动可能是NBA史上最广为人知的秘密。「我才登上飞机,机长就从驾驶舱里走出来,祝我能招募到Don Nelson。飞机甚至还没离开飞机场。」

Despite some reservations, Zaccanelli took off for Hawaii. He quickly realized his trip was the worst kept secret in NBA history. 「I literally board the plane, and the pilot comes out of the cockpit and says, 『Mr. Zaccanelli, good luck with Don Nelson.』 We hadn’t even left the airport yet,」 Zaccanelli said.

更让Zaccaneli吃惊的是,见到老Nelson后,他对小牛队直率的评价。老Nelson对Zaccanelli说,「你们球队真是很菜。」 Zaccanelli则回答,「得了吧。我大老远飞这里来,你还是讲点我不知道的东西吧。」

The hits kept coming for Zaccanelli, who reached Hawaii only to receive a blunt assessment of his team from Nelson. 「Your team really stinks,」 Nelson said. To which Zaccanelli replied, 「I hope I didn’t fly all this way for you to tell me something I already know.」

[双语阅读] 1997年,小牛找到了建队基石,就是他们传奇的由此开始,他们建立了一段共事四年的友谊,这段友谊也促成了Nelson经理生涯最妙的一次操作:

选中Dirk Nowitzki。

They hit it off from there, forming a friendship that colored their four-year tenure together in Dallas and served as the backdrop to the best move of Nelson’s career as a general manager: drafting Dirk Nowitzki.

但在Nowitzki来之前,老Nelson首先还得调整小牛的阵容。那时的小牛球员们声名狼藉。整个96-97赛季,他们在放肆三分出手(出手创造了历史记录)的同时,也在放肆输球。俗话说,新官上任三把火。而老Nelson决定放把大火:他走进小牛队的更衣室,问球员们,「有谁想离开这支球队去别的地方打球吗?」结果令老Nelson震惊:75%的人举起了手。

But before Nowitzki could enter the picture, Nelson had to reckon with his Mavericks roster—a ragtag group of players who spent the 1996-97 season hoisting three-pointers at an all-time pace and losing at a similar rate.

Nelson didn’t take the subtle approach with his first act as Mavericks general manager. He walked into the team’s locker room and asked if anyone wished to play elsewhere. To his surprise, 75% of the team raised their hands in unison.

「我们不得不送走了很多人,」老Nelson说,「我可不想留下一堆身在曹营心在汉的成员。」

「We had to move a lot of people,」 Nelson said. 「I didn’t want people around who didn’t want to be there.」

[双语阅读] 1997年,小牛找到了建队基石,就是他们传奇的「我当时只确信Michael Finley会留队,他是我们用Jason Kidd交易来的。A.C Green,Jim Jackson和Jamal Mashburn则一直都在我们队里,」 Zaccaneli说,「尼尔找到我对我说,『我们得换换血了。』」

「The only piece I believe we kept in the final assessment was Michael Finley, who we got in the 1996 Jason Kidd trade. A.C. Green, Jim Jackson and Jamal Mashburn were all there at the time,」 Zaccanelli said. 「Nellie came to me and said, 『We’re going to move things around.』」

与此同时,老Nelson的儿子,小Nelson则找到了小牛未来的建队基石。在欧洲发掘年轻球员时,他第一次见到了Nowitzki,然后就爱上了他的比赛。

Meanwhile the future of the Mavericks was already under the watchful eye of Nelson’s son, Donnie. He first saw Nowitzki while scouting in Europe and fell in love with his game.

老Nelson一直没时间去欧洲考察Nowitzki。后来,这位未来的名人堂球员来到达拉斯进行为期一週的训练,之后还要去圣安东尼奥打一场表演赛。这段时间内,老Nelson天天去看Nowitzki训练。老Nelson告诉Zaccaneli:「这小伙子可能会引发一场篮球打法的革命。」

The elder Nelson didn’t have time to watch Nowitzki until the future Hall of Famer traveled stateside for a week of training in Dallas and an exhibition game in San Antonio. Nelson watched Nowitzki practice every day. “This kid has a chance to revolutionize the game of basketball,」 he told Zaccanelli.

因此,老Nelson想尽办法,不让Nowitzki去圣安东尼奥打比赛,以免他那精彩的表现会引起其他球队的注意力。他甚至想办法和Nowitzki的恩师Holger Geschwindner见了一面,希望他不要让Nowitzki在其他球队面前露面。可是都无功而返。

With that, Nelson started his crusade to keep Nowitzki from traveling to San Antonio, worried that Dirk’s performance in the exhibition would attract a slew of attention. He went so far as to meet with Nowitzki’s coach, Holger Geschwindner, to make sure Nowitzki didn’t play in front of other NBA teams. Nothing worked.

「我们当时简直想把他藏起来!」老Nelson说,「我没怎幺物色过高中球员,但是这个小伙子太出色了。我从没见过哪个年轻球员有这幺好的技术。」

「We tried to hide him,」 Nelson said. 「I didn’t do a lot of scouting of high school players, but I’d never seen a young player with more skill than he had.」

最终,Nowitzki还是去了圣安东尼奥。在表演赛上,Nowitzki在一帮美国高中生头上砍下了33分,立刻吸引了NBA球探们的注意。达拉斯1998年的选秀形势变得複杂了起来。

Of course, Nowitzki made it to San Antonio and scored 33 points in the exhibition against American high school players, immediately jumping on the NBA radar and complicating the Mavericks’ 1998 draft day.

[双语阅读] 1997年,小牛找到了建队基石,就是他们传奇的小牛队因此不得不精心策划关于Nowitzki的选秀,因为塞尔提克的教练Rick Pitino也盯上了Nowitzki。选秀前,小牛队与公鹿和太阳达成了交易,保证能以靠前的顺位选中Nowitzki的同时,还得到了Nash。

Dallas now had to orchestrate a master plan to land Nowitzki and beat out Celtics coach Rick Pitino. The Mavericks worked out deals with the Bucks and Suns to secure Nowitzki’s rights and, somehow, trade for Steve Nash.

从此,小牛队拥有了他们想要的建队基石。他们的未来和Nowitzki的那头金发一样闪闪发光。一开始Nowitzki还有些挣扎,但是在Nash和Finley的帮助下,他逐渐成为了篮球史上最棒的大个球员之一。他带领小牛击败热火三巨头夺冠,入选了13次全明星,并成为了NBA历史上第六位三万分先生。

The Mavericks had their man and the future looked as bright as Nowitzki’s bleached hair. It wasn’t easy at first, but Nowitzki found himself eventually with the help of Nash and Michael Finley to become one of the best big men in the game’s history. He won an NBA title against Miami’s Big Three, made 13 All-Star appearances and became one of only six players in history to post 30,000 career points.

「我想过我们能用那个选秀权挑中一位全明星,也想过也许能有幸挑中一个基石型球员,」老Nelson说,「虽然没人想过Dirk能得到三万分,但我一开始就知道,他一定会是个极其出色的球员。」

「I thought we had the chance to have an All-Star player and I thought we had a chance to draft a guy we could build around,」 Nelson said. 「Nobody could predict him scoring 30,000 points, but I thought he was going to be a really good player.」

在小牛奉献了一切的Nowitzki仍没有宣布他的退休计画。想想看就觉得很奇妙——这一切都源于一趟飞往夏威夷的航班。

Nowitzki, who still hasn’t announced retirement plans, did it all with the Mavericks. And to think this all started with a trip to Hawaii.

「我为他目前取得的成就和他的篮球生涯而深感骄傲。」老Nelson说,「他真是一个伟大的人。他的伟大不仅仅在于篮球。」

「I’m so proud of him and what he’s done with his life and his basketball career,」 Nelson said. 「He’s just a wonderful person. It’s more than basketball with that guy.」

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