Legends Spotlight: Winston Garland

August 22, 2016

Last weekend the National Basketball Retired Players Association hosted the latest edition of its youth basketball and mentoring program called “Full Court Press: Prep for Success”. Several former NBA/WNBA standouts were in attendance at Tupelo Middle School including Winston Garland/Quacy Timmons. The program travels all over the country to introduce kids to positive role models in both basketball and life. NBRPA writer Jon Teitel has spent time talking with many of the greatest players in NBA history and will share his interviews at LegendsofBasketball.com. Jon visited with Winston Garland about his role with the Full Court Press program and getting a triple-double.

What is your role with the Full Court Press program? I helped out with most of the drills, including defense and ball-handling.

What was your favorite highlight from the clinic? It was great to speak to the kids. Some of them came up to me afterward and said they enjoyed it, which was awesome.

What is your coaching philosophy on the court? When you have kids in the age range from 7-16, you just try to touch on the fundamentals and find the ones in the group who really get it. The most important thing is to work hard.

What do you hope that the kids get out of this great experience? I do not know if the Police Athletic League is involved with every clinic, but with the temperature in America right now it is important to get to talk with a local policeman. The Tupelo cops were really cool and interacted with the kids.

What was your transition like from basketball player to retired player? To tell you the truth it was not easy. I thought that I still had a couple of years left in me so once I decided to retire it was tough to develop a new routine. I was not quite prepared for what lay ahead and was caught in limbo a bit.

Why did you decide to join the National Basketball Retired Players Association? I still wanted to be a part of what the fraternity was doing and the progress they are making.

Being a part of the NBRPA with other legends of basketball, how beneficial is the organization to players who are embarking on life after basketball? It helps open some doors for players coming out of the league now: I just wish that they would try to place more retired players within NBA organizations.

In what ways has your involvement in the NBRPA helped you become an advocate to other retired players? I was deeply touched when the current players voted to help out past players by giving them health insurance coverage with little to no expenses coming out of our own pocket. I hope it happens in other sports like football someday: it is nice to see the gratitude given to the players who came before them by sharing the wealth.

You have accomplished so many things on the court, but what do you seek to accomplish off the court? I want to be the best husband/father that I can be as well as the best person/leader I can be and give back whenever possible.

In the summer of 1987 you were drafted in the 2nd round by Milwaukee: when you would play in the park growing up did you really think that you could make your childhood dream come true? It was always a dream of mine but as I matured a bit and went off to college I thought that it might become a possibility. After you graduate you hope to hear your name called and just stay confident that it will happen.

A few months after signing as a free agent with Golden State that November you became the 1st Warrior in 5 years to record a triple-double with 20 PTS/10 REB/11 AST in a 6-PT loss to the Knicks: what is it like to watch footage of that game 3 decades later? It is hilarious! The biggest thrill was not the triple-double but rather seeing me succeed against guys like Mark Jackson/Patrick Ewing with the help of teammates like Mitch Richmond.

You finished your rookie season #9 in the league with 87.9 FT%: why do young players not practice their FT shooting more? That is the last thing on their agenda. It is not emphasized enough in high school/college and is not part of a kid’s daily routine to make 50-100/day. There is way too much going on without getting more reps, and it shows.

As a member of the Rockets in the final seconds of Game 7 of the 1993 Western Conference Semifinals, you walked onto the floor as the 6th Houston player on the court in a 3-PT OT loss to Seattle: how much does your focus get intensified in the playoffs, and how many things are the refs worrying about at the end of a playoff game? Everything goes up 4-5 notches: you learn a lot about yourself in the playoffs. Back in the day there was an unwritten rule that you were better off taking a midrange jumper because the refs would not blow the whistle if you drove to the hoop and got bumped.

What have you been up to since retiring, and what do you hope to do in the future? I have been working with special needs kids at a high school in Nashville and been an assistant coach on my son’s varsity team. I would love to get into scouting someday and I just keep working towards that goal.