Henry Bibby coached in the Continental Basketball Association against Phil Jackson, George Karl and Flip Saunders and won his share of games.
Jackson, Karl and Saunders became successful NBA coaches, and Bibby, 66, said Wednesday he wants an opportunity to prove he can lead an NBA team, too.
“It’s my time,” said Bibby, who will interview with the Kings on Monday as they continue their wide-ranging search for a coach to replace George Karl. Karl was fired after the Kings’ 33-49 record this season fell short of general manager Vlade Divac’s playoff expectations.
The Kings’ long list of candidates is shorter after Kevin McHale, a leading candidate, withdrew from consideration, according to a source.
Bibby, a longtime NBA assistant coach after nine seasons as the head coach at USC and most of one with the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA, has several connections to the Kings, including his son, Mike, who played for the team from 2001 until 2007, and relationships with Divac and players Rudy Gay and Rajon Rondo.
Henry Bibby said he and Mike asked Divac to give the father an interview with the Kings, believing he could help turn the team around.
“I never got the break,” Bibby, whose last NBA coaching job was as a Detroit Pistons assistant in 2014, said about never being a head coach in the league. “And this business, it’s all connections.”
Bibby said if he’s hired, Mike will be on his staff. Bibby said their once-strained relationship is in the past and they’ve been on good terms for the past 15 years or so. Henry Bibby said he’d bring accountability and defense to the Kings.
“What I’m trying to get back is what Vlade used to have up there, the old Sacramento Kings,” Bibby said. “I want to get that back again, that excitement. They played as a team. They ran that corner offense, and that’s what I’d run. I’d put (center) DeMarcus (Cousins) where Vlade was (on offense), and you play basketball with (Rajon) Rondo, (Ben) McLemore and guys like that.”
Bibby – who has won championships as a player or coach in college, the CBA and the NBA – said the coaches he played for, especially John Wooden at UCLA and Red Holzman with the New York Knicks, helped mold him.
Bibby also said he can coach moody players, something he did in the CBA with Anthony Mason and in Memphis with Zach Randolph.
Bibby said Randolph blossomed with the Grizzlies, and the Kings candidate expressed no concerns about coaching Cousins.
“That was the word on Zach – nobody could coach Zach,” Bibby said. “Zach is a model citizen when he might not have been when he was 22, 23, 24, and he still gets off track just a little bit. Plus Zach didn’t like to give up his money, and DeMarcus gives up his money (in fines) too easy. So I’m going to try to help him keep some of that money and put it in his pocket. Don’t give it to the league.”
Bibby said Cousins is maturing and that he could help Cousins become the team’s leader.
“He’s so good, he expects everybody else to be that good,” Bibby said. “That’s what (stars) expect. I played with Julius Erving, Pete Maravich, all these guys who think (everyone) should be as good. … That’s what he has to realize: People can’t do what he does, and he has to let people do what they can do and be OK with it. At the end of the game, we’re going to give him the ball and let him do it, and that’s what going to happen.”