Mike D'Antoni says Lakers staff should remain intact

Los Angeles LakersNate McMillanLos Angeles Times ColumnistsSportsBasketballMike D'AntoniT.J. Simers

A few more tidbits following an early Tuesday morning interview with Mike D’Antoni, the Lakers’ new head coach:

-- He says his brother, Dan, will be joining the Lakers’ coaching staff but the rest of the staff should remain intact.

-- He hasn’t talked to defensive-minded coach Nate McMillan, but he says he intends to this summer, although he wouldn’t be surprised if McMillan is head coach by that time elsewhere.

-- In D’Antoni’s first start as an NBA player for the Kansas City-Omaha Kings his assignment was to cover Jerry West.

“I was the biggest Lakers’ fan because of him,’’ says D’Antoni, who grew up in Mullens, W.Va.

-- He’s recovering from reconstructive knee surgery, leaving the hospital shortly after Sandy rocked the East Coast and left many without power. He had to take a bed in a retirement home.

“Here I am in my 60s, my wife thinking I like board games and Jell-O. I was worried when the electricity came back on she might just leave me there,’’ he says.

--How does someone with a 121-167 record with the Knicks, who failed to win a playoff game there, end up with the Lakers’ job?

“There is a thing called luck in this world,’’ he says.

-- When D’Antoni was a sophomore at Marshall University, he lost 20 athletic dorm-mates in a plane crash that killed 75.

“My brother, who was close to the football coach, still hasn’t been able to watch the ‘We Are Marshall’ movie they made,’’ he says.

-- His dad, a legendary high school basketball coach in West Virginia, will turn 99 this New Year’s Eve. He once said of his son, “He does a great thing with people; that’s his No. 1 thing.’’

D’Antoni laughs, “Yeah, as I’ve been run out of two or three towns.’’

--A few years back, Sports Illustrated listed the top 50 athletes in West Virginia history. West was No. 1, Mary Lou Retton No. 2 and D’Antoni No. 43.

“I think I was behind a couple of horses,’’ he says.

Now let’s hope he’s just as entertaining when he starts coaching.

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t.j.simers@latimes.com 

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