The NBA has seen its share of iconic coaches over the years. Legends like Pat Riley, Lenny Wilkens, and Jerry Sloan have made a positive impact on the basketball world. Most coaches go on to live a leisurely retirement-focused lifestyle. Other coaches enjoy their golden years in a more unconventional fashion. You won’t believe what some of these retired NBA coaches have been up to.
Retired NBA coach Byron Scott
Byron Scott has had a tumultuous career in the NBA, being fired as head coach from the New Orleans Hornets, New Jersey Nets, and Los Angeles Lakers. In 2017, after 20 years in the league, he decided to retire. Later, he told TMZ, “I enjoy the retired life and working at ESPN. I love that and will continue to do that.”
Scott has toyed with the idea of returning to coaching at the collegiate level. But, for now, he’s enjoying time with his three granddaughters. He also is spending a lot of time caught up in the drama of reality TV. After 29 years of marriage, he divorced his wife Anita and fell into the arms of CeCe Gutierrez.
Their relationship has played out on Season 8 of VH1’s Basketball Wives as CeCe and his daughter-in-law Kristen are embroiled in a family feud when Scott was accused of not being a good grandfather. It seems this retired coach tends to make waves wherever he goes.
Gregg Popovich recently signed a three-year extension to continue coaching the San Antonio Spurs. Although, this doesn’t mean he hasn’t been thinking of retirement. There have been rumors swirling around the NBA that Popovich is ready to take a break after more than 24 years in the league.
Popovich was supposed to coach the USA Basketball men’s team in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. With the games being postponed, ESPN confirmed Popovich will “remain committed to the team into 2021.” This may, in fact, be his final swan song. At 71 years old, it seems Popovich, affectionately called Pop, is well-deserving of some R&R.
Retired NBA coach Phil Jackson
Legendary coach Phil Jackson is known for nurturing basketball legends like Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant. These days, he is enjoying quiet retirement life in Montana. Ron Harper, one of his former players, recently caught up with him and says the 74-year-old coach is now enjoying “watching the green grass grow.”
Apparently, the Hall of Fame coach has traded in his clipboard for a garden shovel. Jackson told Harper he’d consider returning to the NBA if the right opportunity came along. For now, he is enjoying gardening. “Right now he wants to just be relaxing, enjoy himself and take his time,” Harper said.
Fox may have said it perfectly: ‘The NBA’s winningest coach has gone to pot.” According to HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, Don Nelson moved to Maui, Hawaii, and set up a marijuana farm. Once the coach for the Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks, and Dallas Mavericks, he now spends his time cultivating pot plants.
Nelson claims Willie Nelson introduced him to smoking. At 79 years of age, Don carries a medical marijuana card, and grows his own strain, “Nellie Kush,” for personal use. Don admitted to smoking weed every day, saying, “I never smoked when I played or coaching so it’s new to me. I’m doing that and I’m having a pretty good time.” Looks like this former NBA coach wins the most relaxing route to retirement.