During his 12-year career as an NBA player, Orlando Magic coach
Vaughn coached against one of them Sunday: Trail Blazers head coach
Vaughn rejoined the Atlanta Hawks for the 2003-04 season, which was Stotts' first — and only — full season as the Hawks' coach.
"He was a classy guy," Stotts said. "He was competitive. He had a great attitude."
Stotts recalled how, after the Hawks started the season with three consecutive losses, Vaughn played all 48 minutes of a game against the New Orleans Hornets because teammate Jason Terry was serving a one-game suspension. The Hawks won that game.
Later in the season, Vaughn lost playing time after the Hawks made some other roster moves.
"We were a mediocre team at best," Stotts said, "but he accepted his circumstances and continued to be ready."
Stotts and Vaughn send each other text messages. They congratulated each other when they were hired for their new jobs, and Stotts congratulated Vaughn after the Magic ended a 10-game losing streak by beating the Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 12.
"I think he'd say that I always had his back as a player in the locker room," Vaughn said of Stotts. "And I think that's why our relationship is so good. He's texted me throughout the course of this year, and I'm pulling for him, except for [when Orlando plays Portland]."
On Jan. 7 in Portland, Stotts' Blazers beat Vaughn's Magic 125-119 in overtime.
Vaughn already had coached against three of his former coaches: Lawrence Frank, Doc Rivers and
• J.J. Redick played after he had missed Orlando's previous three games because of a sore right shoulder.
• Hedo Turkoglu didn't dress for the game. He sat out because of a sore back, a team official said.
• Julius Erving attended the game and watched some of it from a second-row seat.