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It's a Friday night. We're two nights away from Game 2 of the NBA Finals and we needed to bring on a legend. We needed to bring on someone who is in the Basketball Hall of Fame. We need to bring on a Nuggets legend.
We need to bring on someone who basically leads them in every statistical category. It's NBA legend, Alex English. Alex, how are you? I'm great. How are you? I'm excellent.
Thank you for taking the time to hop on. First question out of the gate. Game 1 is in the books. What are your initial impressions after watching that? It was pretty much a beat down until the end.
It was. At the end, it was pretty much over. For Miami to get back in the game, it would have taken another 5, 6, 7 minutes on the clock and that wasn't going to happen. I thought that the Nuggets played great basketball, great team basketball and they've done what they've done all year. You know, Nicola Jokic leading the way and all the others participating. And Jamal Murray just playing the type of basketball that is going to make him a superstar. So, you know, they've got a solid squad all around. Alex English is here with us.
The JR Sport Brief Show on CBS Sports Radio. This NBA Finals matchup is looked upon as two underdogs, two teams that weren't necessarily supposed to be here. We heard all of the nonsense about Jokic and the MVP race earlier on in the season. Do you think the Nuggets are finally getting their just due? Because the way Mike Malone speaks, you know, they're relishing in the fact that they don't receive the attention.
Yeah, they may be relishing in that fact, but they're getting all that attention right now. You know, after these playoffs and the way they played, people are beginning to realize and recognize that this is the best team in the NBA. And, you know, with Nicola Jokic leading the way, you know, they're going to be special for a long time. Well, you certainly lit it up for the Nuggets when you played and not just for the Nuggets. I mean, just for the entire 80s, nobody scored more points than you.
We had a lot of callers last night who wanted to find or identify the closest thing to a Nicola Jokic. For all the time and years that you have watched basketball, is there anybody that has a slight similarity? Not at his position. I think, you know, he makes everybody else around him better.
Magic Johnson did that to a degree, but it's just different. You know, he's a transitional, transformative type of player. And, you know, I call him a point, center, forward guard. And, you know, he lives up to it. He's a great passer, a great rebounder. You know, he's been my MVP for the last three years.
So, no, there's no one that comes close. I mean, there are great players in the history of the game, and there will always be great players, different types of abilities, though. Jokic has an ability and an ineptness sense on the floor to find a guy at the right moment at the right time. And because he's such a great offensive player, you know, teams are afraid to double him because he's going to find the open guy, and his team knows what to do once that happens. You know, I think Coach Malone has done a great job in making the players around him understand what they've got in the middle, in Jokic, that if they keep moving, they keep doing the things that they do, they do the cuts off of reads that they do, he's going to find them or he's going to score. He's going to make them better. And, you know, it rubs off on everybody else.
Everybody else does the same thing. You know, nobody's forcing unnecessary shots. It's pass, move, cut.
It's the JR Sport Reef Show here with you on CBS Sports Radio. NBA legend, Nuggets legend Alex English is joining us. You talk about Jokic. Last night we had on Magic Forward, or center, Wendell Carter Jr. He said Jokic is the most difficult dude for him to guard in the league. When you played, there were so many talents.
You named a few of them. Who was the most difficult guy for you to guard? Oh, that's a tough one because the position that I played, the small forward position, during the era that I played, you had some of the most talented small forwards to play the game and all unique in their abilities. You know, I could play with James Worthy one night who was long lanky and runs the floor, can shoot jump shots, get to the basket, dunk on you. And the next night I might have a Marcus Johnson who, you know, is just a slasher, tough. And then the next night it could have been a Larry Bird.
You know his game. And then the next night it may have been a Dominique Wilkins. So every night that I played, it was a different talent on the floor. So it was a learning experience each night. You know, during the era that I played, I think that that position was the toughest position in the league at that time.
Well, Mr. English, I got to ask you this. Someone who was a prolific scorer in his own right, just retired from basketball, that happens to be Carmelo Anthony. We know that he started his time in Denver, didn't end the way that he or I think Nugget fans would have wanted to. But what's the vibe with Nugget fans and Carmelo? Do you think he gets the appreciation that he deserves or do you think because I feel like the fans are split 50-50 on him?
You know, I don't live in Denver. I know that, you know, getting Carmelo was a big deal. And when he played there, he played great basketball. I think the fans are probably upset with his decision to leave Denver and, you know, not understanding that basketball is basketball.
Sometimes we have to leave and go other places. I did it, but I think that they should give him his due. When he was there, he helped make the Nuggets a prolific team, a team that other teams recognized and were afraid to play. So he is, you know, he is a great Nugget player as well.
So I hope the fans get over the problem that they have with him. Nuggets legend Alex English here with us. The JR Sport Brief Show, CBS Sports Radio, you talk about your time. You didn't spend your entire career in Denver. You ended your career in Italy. And we have seen just the growth of the NBA, whether it's a Jokic from Serbia.
We have a Wimbenjama coming over from France. What makes, from your experience, European players different? Well, just playing in the European system for the one year that I played, they do a lot of practicing. They work a lot on their individual games. And, you know, they learn the game differently. They learn all the basic fundamental things.
You know, they don't take shortcuts. And, you know, if they make it to the NBA, that can help them a lot because they're very fundamentally sound. Well, we see a lot of youngsters with a lot of different options now here stateside. Overtime, elite. We see the college athletes getting those checks that weren't handed out when you were out in South Carolina.
We even see LeBron's son. I think he's going to make $8 million at USC. What do you think about the developmental system here stateside? I think they're doing a decent job. I'm not as happy with the way the system is run in college.
You know, I like NIL stuff. I like players being able to get some of the money, all the big money that's being dealt out to the colleges and universities. But I would like to see them change the system to the point where a player has to stay at his school if he transfers one year.
Then he's going to have to sit out a year. You know, colleges aren't able to build the kind of loyalty and camaraderie that they used to have when I played. And I'm all about kids being able to earn and get paid just like the coaches in college are. But I'd like to see the system go back and maybe backtrack a little bit and work out the kinks in the NIL.
Final question for you, Mr. English, Coach English. Who's winning the finals and how long is it going to take the Nuggets to do so? Well, there you go. You just said it. I don't need to say it.
It's going to take the Nuggets at least five games. OK. All right. Well, Coach English, I appreciate you for coming through, talking about everything from Jokic to Carmelo, the college system. I appreciate it. I enjoy the game on Sunday. We're all going to be tuning in. I will be there. No doubt about it.
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