Can Rudy handle Hollywood?

Originally Published: October 11, 2004
By Marc Stein | ESPN Insider
SAN DIEGO – Five observations from Los Angeles Lakers training camp, based on practices of Oct. 5-6:

Rudy's burden: You have to respect Rudy Tomjanovich. Yes, he's getting a handsome salary to coach this team, but the big money is understandable given NBA market conditions and the size of job he took. Replacing Phil Jackson and coaching the player with more influence over ownership than anyone else in the league? Not every coach would want those responsibilities, no matter the cash.

My doubts, incidentally, deal a lot more with how Rudy T handles the Hollywood spotlight than the actual coaching. Houston was a small market, and Tomjanovich was one of its favorite sons, virtually bulletproof however the Rockets did. Before his first two media sessions last week, a horde of reporters rushed at him as if it feared it had to tackle Rudy to make sure he stopped to talk.

Dealing with the daily crush, and the inevitable line of negative questioning when the Lakers struggle, could be a bigger drain on Tomjanovich than anything he has experienced before.

Marc Stein | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com
• Senior NBA writer for ESPN.com
• Began covering the NBA in 1993-94
• Also covered soccer, tennis and the Olympics

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