Taylor Jenkins to Sportando: "Basketball for me is not a job, it's a passion"

Among the NBA faces of Basketball Without Borders in Milan this week undoubtedly stood out Taylor Jenkins, coach who has just returned from a super season with the Memphis Grizzlies. At just 37 years old (38 next September), Jenkins can boast three seasons – always growing – on the Grizzlies bench after a long apprenticeship as an assistant between the G-League and the NBA. “This is a life experience. It is my second time at Basketball Without Borders and in general I love opportunities like these, which lead me to teach basketball together with coaches and players from all over the world, ”he tells Sportando exclusively. “It’s something exciting, which makes me feel this way because I love basketball and I love to coach. There is no better place to do it than in a camp where everyone wants to improve and do better. That’s what motivates me. At the beginning of the camp I told the players that I hoped to teach them something that could improve them, but that in reality I would be the one to learn more just by watching them play. It was an enriching experience, very special, which I will try to do whenever possible “.

“Every time I tell players and coaches that if you love this sport you have to try to get involved as much as possible,” continues Jenkins. “There is no one way to just enjoy basketball in your life. Many start playing at a young age and growing in category when they get older, but not everyone can become a professional player. Being a coach and understanding this, understanding that I have had a particular path (Jenkins joined the NBA as an intern in the basketball operations of the San Antonio Spurs, ed) leads me to love this game even more and want to know it more every day. I’ve been lucky to have some great opportunities, but more than inspiration I think it’s important to show motivation. If you really want to be in basketball you can find different ways to leave your contribution not only for this generation, but also for the next one ”.

Motivation is a concept that Jenkins tends to reiterate as essential to his job as a coach: “I didn’t play in college or as a professional, so I always knew I had to learn a lot every day. Learning from other players, from other coaches, from other teams: I had to watch basketball, every day of the year, and by doing so I learned a lot of new things, even beyond the NBA. Working in contact with European coaches, including Italians as in this week, I learned many things that I will take home with me, which I will try to apply by asking myself what can make sense for us, for the Grizzlies. I’ve always had the desire to learn: I don’t think I’ll use every cue learned, but if just a couple of things stored this week will make me a better coach, it will have been worth it. If I don’t learn something new every day why am I doing this? For me basketball is not a job, but a passion. The day I don’t have this motivation, it probably won’t make sense to train anymore ”.

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