Suddenly one of the most worldly renowned basketball coaches has become a student.
Ettore Messina's coaching resume includes two Euroleague championships with Italy's Virtus Bologna, two with Russia's CSKA Moscow, four Italian national championships and four Russian Superleague titles. Yet, he still admits a learning curve with the NBA's terminology and three-second rule.
He had total control of his programs. He implemented his belief in proper floor balancing and spacing. He achieved results, including four Cups of Italy with Virtus Bologna, three cups of Italy with Treviso and two Russian Cups with CSKA Moscow. Yet, Messina's influence as a Lakers assistant under Coach Mike Brown pales considerably.
Brown and Lakers General Mitch Kupchak have famously dubbed Messina the "Phil Jackson of international basketball," meaning he's earned the cache to continuously bank and build off his riches. Yet, Messina finds it particularly satisfying in taking another route as one of many assistants on Brown's staff.
"I really wanted to know this league from the inside," Messina said. "The combination of working with Mike and the Los Angeles Lakers is something that happens once in your lifetime. I didn't think much to accept that opportunity."