July 18, 2019 Currently: 101° | Complete forecast

Jacuzzi 2, ribs 0

Summertime with Tark

Before he left for San Diego for the summer, Jerry Tarkanian sat down to talk about life outside basketball.

Here I am in San Diego. I got to my condo in Pacific Beach on Friday, and it had been so comfortable. The weather, as usual, is absolutely perfect.

So Monday rolls around and I try to get in my Jacuzzi. I had just worked out in the pool. And I slip off the Jacuzzi rail and hit the upper right side of my back on the side of the pool.

Now I have two cracked ribs. What a painful thing. There’s no cure, it just has to heal itself. I’ll live with it for a while.

As I was getting in, I stepped down on the first step. Then I missed the second step. The jets from the Jacuzzi flipped me over, and I went over a bar and hit my back real hard on the side of the thing.

It was amazing. The first day and a half, it was bruised but it wasn’t nearly as painful as it’s gotten, so I have some Vicodin.

I had been doing so well, too, in trying to get in shape. I’ve had some pretty good back pain, from a pinched nerve, for a few years, but I’ve gone to a therapist and it had started feeling better.

I was walking in the pool, doing leg raises and stuff like that. I was riding the bike twice a day, 12 minutes at a time. We were walking every day for breakfast.

It was going great. I was feeling good. Then this thing happens. I just have to get through it, that’s all.

I had just been to Bass Lake for our family reunion. There were 40 Tarkanians there, including 18 grandchildren. It was a lot of fun.

When we were there, my son-in-law had hurt his back – it wasn’t so serious – and I told him of my experiences. Then I come down here and get it again.

When I was at UNLV in the late 1980s, I had visited a friend at the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach. He was one of the guys I always hung out with, and he had a membership at this exclusive health club in Irvine.

I showed up there one day, and they had a track upstairs. I’d walk on it for a mile. I was doing a lot of things. Then I got in the shower and slipped, and I cracked some ribs real good.

God, that was painful. I was telling everyone at Bass Lake, just a couple weekends ago, how painful that was. Then I come down here …

I want to try to get in shape for the start of the track season, at Del Mar, on July 22. I was looking forward to that. I don’t even know if I can go to that now.

I hope to be up and around in a week or so. We have our Tuesday morning breakfast for retired coaches once Del Mar starts, and I don’t want to miss our first one the first week of the season.

I have heard that it looks like Mike Krzyzewski likely will continue to coach the U.S. national hoops team, and I am very glad about that.

He did a great, great job with them over the past few years. I saw him two years ago, before the Olympics, and they played the best defense I’d ever seen NBA guys play.

That was in the FIBA Americas tournament in Las Vegas. Man, they ran over all 10 of their opponents. Just killed them.

I wrote Mike a note, telling him how impressive it was that they got after it on defense. That’s what made them so tough. When they want to, they lock you down.

In that Americas tournament, Romel Beck, who went to UNLV and played for Mexico, was doing well until he ran into Kobe Bryant. Kobe just shut him down.

And Carl English, the kid from Hawaii, did the same thing. I talked to Riley Wallace, who coached him at Hawaii, and he said Carl had been doing really well … until he ran into Kobe. Carl couldn’t even get his shot up.

Kobe did a great job on Leandro Barbosa, from Brazil, too. Kobe can defend bigs and smalls, he’s so quick and tough. It’s a lot like Michael Jordan. The only thing worse than having to guard Michael was him guarding you.

But Mike Krzyzewski had those guys defend. They bought into it and they believed in Mike. He has a way about him, too. I’m really happy it looks like he’ll continue with that squad.

Until next time, have fun at the NBA Summer League that starts in Las Vegas on Friday, and I hope I’m moving around a lot better the next time I file my column.

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