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The fun of interviewing Rick Carlisle

UnknownDALLAS, Texas - Rick Carlisle remains an absolute favorite interview, primarily because of the uncomfortable pauses, long stares, and sarcasm to questions he does not approve.

On Monday after practice, he told Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas, "I don't think it's a good idea to get into answering karmically-flawed questions like that. I will politely decline that. I will say respectfully decline that."

"Karmically-flawed" ... a brilliant line, and one I intend to steal soon.

The response was to Tim MacMahon's question of, if the Mavericks were locked into a seed after Monday's game, would it change the way Carlisle played the Mavs' regular season finale on Wednesday in Memphis?

I asked Carlisle if, given the circumstances and the roster, his team is right about where it should be this season.

"You know, I don't like that question," he told me.

To which I asked, why?

"Just because. It's karmically-flawed," he said, having recognized the fun of that line.

(To any aspiring journalist - if you can deal with the initial insult during an interview, a good answer may be coming, which makes it worth it).

Because he rarely changes his tone, smiles or shows much emotion, you may not know this is a tremendously bright, and funny, man. Players are never quite sure what to do with his humor, but if you have a sense of humor you can quickly see he is often toying with you.

He may be better for hack writers such as myself than TV cameras, but there is a reason ESPN hired him when he was between coaching gigs during the 2007-'08 season. He is an effective communicator to both players, and viewers.

Hiring Carlisle may be Mark Cuban's best basketball-decision he ever made. Carlisle is 569-398 in his career with one title. He is a total pro.

And whenever he is done coaching, he should return to TV and become every bit the analyst that Steve Kerr, Jeff Van Gundy or Doug Collins.


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I'll come clean and say that at the beginning of the season I didn't think the Mavs were going to sniff the playoffs let alone have a chance at winning 50 games. I stand corrected. Carlisle has done a masterful coaching job with this roster and indeed Mark Cuban is fortunate to have him.

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