David Blatt

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David Blatt
David Blatt Cavs 2014.jpg
Blatt with Cavs in 2014
Cleveland Cavaliers
Position Head coach
League NBA
Personal information
Born (1959-05-22) May 22, 1959 (age 55)
Boston, Massachusetts
Nationality Israeli / American
Career information
High school Framingham South
(Framingham, Massachusetts)
College Princeton (1978–1981)
NBA draft 1981 / Undrafted
Pro career 1981–1993
Position Point guard
Career history
As player:
1981–1984 Maccabi Haifa
1984–1986 Atlanta Pro-Am League
1986–1987 Hapoel Jerusalem
1987–1989 Maccabi Natanya
1989–1990 Hapoel Galil Elyon
1990–1991 Hapoel Jerusalem
1991–1992 Ironi Nahariya
1992–1993 Maccabi Hadera
As coach:
1993–1994 Hapoel Galil Elyon
1994–1995 Hapoel Galil Elyon (assistant)
1995–2000 Hapoel Galil Elyon
1996–1997 Israel Under-22 (assistant)
1997–2001 Israel (assistant)
1999–2001 Maccabi Tel Aviv (assistant)
2001–2003 Maccabi Tel Aviv
2003–2004 Maccabi Tel Aviv (assistant)
2004–2005 Israel
2004–2005 Dynamo St. Petersburg
2005–2007 Benetton Treviso
2006-2012 Russia
2007–2008 Efes Pilsen
2008–2009 Dynamo Moscow
2010 Aris Thessaloniki
2010–2014 Maccabi Tel Aviv
2014–present Cleveland Cavaliers
Career highlights and awards
As coach

David Michael Blatt (Hebrew: דייוויד בלאט‎; born May 22, 1959) is an Israeli American professional basketball coach and a former professional basketball player. He is currently the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is one of the most successful American coaches in European basketball history.

Biography[edit]

David Blatt grew up in Framingham, Massachusetts. As a child, he attended YMCA Camp Becket in Becket, MA. In his sophomore year at Princeton, where he was an English literature major, a coach for an Israeli kibbutz team recruited him to play in Israel for the summer.[1] The summer at Kibbutz Gan Shmuel turned out to be a life-changing experience.[2]

In 1991, Blatt married Kinneret. They have four children.[2]

Playing career[edit]

Blatt, a point guard, played college basketball at Princeton University from 1977 to 1981, under coach Pete Carril with the Princeton Tigers. He also participated in the Maccabiah Games as part of the USA national team that won a gold medal in 1981.[1] After competing in the Maccabiah, Blatt began to play basketball in Israel's Super League.

Coaching career[edit]

After retiring from basketball as a player, Blatt became assistant manager for Hapoel Galil Elyon, coaching them for the 1993–94 season. In the middle of the season, the head coach was sacked and he took his place. Next season he became Pini Gershon's assistant in the 1994–95 season. In the following year, he won the title of Israeli "Coach of the Year" for 1996, and, in 1997, he continued coaching at Hapoel Galil Elyon while also becoming the assistant coach of the Israeli National Team.

Blatt returned to coach Galil Elyon and remained assistant manager of the Israeli National Team for the next 2 years (1997–99).

For the 1999–00 season, he moved to Maccabi Tel Aviv and once again served as assistant manager to Pini Gershon. During this season, his team took part in the Israeli League and Israeli Cup (won both) and also in the Euroleague, where Maccabi finished in 2nd place.

In the years between 2000–2004, he continued as assistant coach under Pini Gershon and actively recruited foreign players such as Anthony Parker (in 2000) and Maceo Baston to the team. During those 4 years, Maccabi won one Euroleague title, reached the Euroleague Final Four (2001–02 season), and reached the final stage of the Adriatic League. Maccabi won the SuproLeague title in 2001, which was held in Paris. Blatt was still working as assistant coach of the Israeli National Team in 2002, when he won the title of Israeli "Coach of the Year" for the second time, the year he was appointed head coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Despite two years as head coach with all possible domestic titles and one Euroleague Final Four appearance, for the 2003–04 season, he agreed to be demoted to assistant coach once again when Pini Gershon came back to the head coach position. Together, they led one of the best teams in Maccabi Tel Aviv history, and the history of European basketball, to another Euroleague title with a 44-point win in the final, as well as the Israeli Championship and the Israeli Cup.

In 2004, he moved to Russia and signed on as head coach with Dynamo Saint Petersburg. During this year, he won the FIBA EuroCup championship with Dynamo and also the title of "Coach of the Year in Russia" (2004–05 season).

For the 2005–06 season, he signed on as head coach of the Israeli national basketball team, but his appointment fell through due to the lack of a formal coaching certificate. He left Israel to become head coach of Benetton Treviso of the Italian League, and subsequently led them to the Italian Championship through a 3–1 victory in the final series of the Italian playoffs. In the same year, he was also appointed the head coach of the Russian national basketball team.

At the beginning of 2007-08 season, Blatt was appointed as a head coach of the Istanbul-based Turkish Basketball League team Efes Pilsen. However on April 6, 2008, he parted ways with the team due to poor results over the season.[3] Blatt has also coached the Russian national basketball team, with which he won the EuroBasket 2007 in a final game against the reigning world champions and home team of Spain, by a score of 60–59.[4][5]

In 2008, with Ettore Messina then announcing that he would leave CSKA Moscow, Blatt was considered to be the favorite to replace him, but Messina eventually stayed on as CSKA's coach and Blatt agreed to the offer to become the head coach of Dynamo Moscow instead.[6] Although under contract for two seasons, he parted ways with the team, after requesting that from team in order to pursue his career elsewhere.[7] In early 2010, Blatt served a stint as the head coach of the Greek League club Aris Thessaloniki, before moving on to coach Maccabi Tel Aviv once again.[8] Blatt led the Russian national team to a bronze medal during the 2012 London Olympics.

In 2014, Blatt led Maccabi Tel Aviv to one of the greatest comebacks against CSKA Moscow in the Euroleague semifinal game, proceeding to win the championship after beating Real Madrid in overtime.[9] In June, after his contract ended, Blatt officially parted ways with the club in order to seek an NBA coaching position.[10] Over four years as Maccabi head coach, he compiled a 225–55 record. On June 20, 2014, Blatt was hired to be the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.[11] Following his assignment in the Cavaliers, Blatt was named the Euroleague Coach of the Year.[12]

Coaching style[edit]

Blatt is known as an excellent communicator who gets the best out of his players and teams.[13] According to Jeremy Pargo, "Blatt understands emotions of players, their different attitudes, and knows how to get it all into one." [14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Greece Panagiotis Giannakis
EuroBasket
Winning Coach

2007
Succeeded by
Italy Sergio Scariolo