New Charlotte Bobcats center Brendan Haywood says the best thing he got from that 2011 championship with the Dallas Mavericks wasnt a ring or a parade or a big playoff check.
It was a lesson that success isnt all about you.
Everyone on that team did things they were not used to doing, Haywood recalled Thursday at an introductory news conference. Caron Butler was used to taking shots in the fourth quarter. His job there was to get Dirk Nowitzki shots in the fourth quarter.
Everyone sacrificed. As you get older, you appreciate that as a good thing.
Haywood says at 32, 11 seasons into an NBA career, hes far less self-centered than he was coming out of North Carolina. Two of his former coaches -- Rick Carlisle in Dallas and Ed Tapscott -- both called him a delight to coach.
Haywood has always been analytical, he says, to a fault. When he was injured that season Tapscott served as interim coach with the Wizards, Tapscott enlisted him to do some scouting. Essentially, Haywood showed up in Tapscotts office after home games to offer feedback. Tapscott found that invaluable.
Coach Tap wanted a players perspective, Haywood recalled. It gave me a chance to convey messages between the coaches and players.
On April 1 that season, with about 10 games left and the Wizards floundering, Haywood volunteered to come off the injured list. When Haywood made that offer, Tapscott was so taken aback, he thought it was an April Fools joke. Nope. Haywood just wanted to help.
We were headed toward one of the worst records ever, and I didnt want Coach Tapscott to have to go through that, Haywood described of playing when many veterans wouldnt have risked re-injury.
Haywood said hed be happy to serve as a mentor on a Bobcats team with nine players of three or fewer seasons of NBA experience. Point guard Ramon Sessions, who signed with the Bobcats recently as a free agent, said they both should be able to fill that role.
We both have a lot of experience, said Sessions, entering his sixth NBA season. Were not coaches, per se, but anything we can do to help, I think well offer our guidance.
The Bobcats will be Sessions fifth NBA team, after playing in Milwaukee, Minnesota, Cleveland and most recently for the Los Angeles Lakers. He signed a two-season contract, at $5 million per season. The deal between the Bobcats and Sessions agent, Jared Karnes, came together fairly quickly over a few days. Like Haywood, Sessions comes across as a low-maintenance player; hes been fine with either starting or coming off the bench.
Sessions was attracted to the Bobcats in part because he grew up in the Carolinas, in Myrtle Beach. Asked Thursday what sort of impact he and Haywood can have on a 7-59 team, he didnt make any grand predictions.
Were not coming in here saying, Well win 50 games and go to the third round of the playoffs, Sessions said. Were just trying to win more games.