Vertical Pod with Woj: Rod Thorn

NBA great Rod Thorn joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj for an engaging visit about his 50 years in pro basketball.

Thorn tells an array of stories from his days as a tortured All-American in Jerry West’s shadow at West Virginia, to the barnstorming days of the NBA, to competing with Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. Thorn discusses the genius of Julius “Dr. J.” Erving, the demons of Marvin “Bad News” Barnes with the St. Louis Spirits and what made Spirits radio voice Bob Costas so irritating in two-on-two pickup basketball games.

Thorn also talks about drafting Michael Jordan in Chicago and trading for Jason Kidd in New Jersey.

1:39: Thorn’s beginning in the NBA after being the No. 2 pick in 1963.

4:30: Growing up in the shadow of West Virginia legends West and Rodney “Hot Rod” Hundley.

10:23: The injuries and physical toll of playing in the league.

13:47: How many players from the 1960s would be great players today?

19:11: Red Auerbach’s greatness as a coach and executive with the Celtics.

22:45: Passing on law school to coach the Nets and Dr. J in the ABA.

28:00: The fun and madness of the ABA.

31:00: Playing pickup basketball with Costas.

32:56: Coaching Barnes and the personal battles that derailed Barnes' legendary talent.

34:51: The coin flip that cost the Bulls a chance to draft Magic Johnson.

37:11: Firing Jerry Sloan as head coach.

39:54: Realizing Michael Jordan’s greatness on his first day of practice with the Bulls.

42:46: Leaving the league office to lead the Nets and acquiring Jason Kidd.

53:06: Firing Byron Scott after back-to-back Finals appearances.

57:22: The tumultuous end of Kidd’s tenure with the Nets.

1:00:23: Deciding to leave the Nets once Mikhail Prokhorov purchased the team.

1:03:00: Joining the 76ers and acquiring Andrew Bynum in the Dwight Howard trade.

1:08:26: His current role with the Bucks and how the league has changed.

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