KUALA LUMPUR – Touching down in KLIA last Sunday, Coach Jamie Pearlman is finally here in Malaysia. We sat down with the head coach to get to know him more, to get a peek of what we can expect from him in the next season of ASEAN Basketball League.

 

Coach Jamie had his first training session with the team last Tuesday and we managed to catch him before the practice started.

 

From Australia to New Zealand and now Malaysia, we talked about his coaching experiences, role models, his goals and thoughts of our multicultural country.

 

Dragons: How do you find Malaysia? The weather, the people, the language – do you think you’ll be able to adapt soon?

Coach Jamie: It’s very similar to Cairns weather wise, very tropical. It’s probably a little bit warmer here but I’m quite used to the tropics. But I’ve recently come from New Zealand, it was very cold over there, so I’ve gone from cold climate, snow in the mountains to back in the tropics, so it’s a big change.

 

We’ve heard that they say that Australia is a lot like Malaysia, with the various cultures and races, what do you think?

Absolutely! So far, I’ve been getting to know the people from all kinds of backgrounds over here.

 

Have you tried the food here yet?

Yeah last night Andri (General Manager) and Shoghi (Assistant General Manager) brought me out to have something which I can’t remember the name of..

 

Describe it for us!

It had rice, fried chicken, and hot sauce.

 

Nasi Lemak?

Yeah that’s it!

 

Okay, moving on to basketball related questions. Can you expand a little about your leadership style and how will it affect your team?

Well, my leadership style is all about culture. Empowering the players to drive the culture of the team. I think where it’s driven internally from each of the individuals of the team – I think that’s when it’s strongest. Very focused on building a culture here, to make us understand what we value as a basketball team, and then holding ourselves individually and each other accountable for those values, that’s where the strength of the culture will come from – by us.

 

Who is your greatest role model, either personally or as a coach?

That’s a very difficult question to answer. I’ve had some very good mentor coaches that helped me along the way, it’s very difficult to single someone out. But I think I’ve mentioned to you before that I definitely enjoy watching the coaches that really drive a team style of basketball. So in the NBA, it’ll be teams like the Utah (Jazz), Boston (Celtics) and the (San Antonio) Spurs, you can really see great team camaraderie, they’re style of playing is very team orientated. So those coaches are the ones I look up to and I do try to replicate them in my style.

 

What are your best and worst memories as a coach?

To be honest, I see all the experiences as a coach as a learning experience. But obviously the big part for me are the players, you meet many players of different personalities and so my job as a coach is to learn how to get the most out of them. Some players are more easy going, some require a bit higher maintenance. But then you learn by dealing with those various people, and having those experiences will make one better as a coach. So for me, coaching has been very positive, I’m just looking for the next challenge.

 

How has coaching affected your life?

It’s been extremely positive, obviously when I was a player, it was a tremendous honor and opportunity to play basketball as a living, but when that’s over you definitely feel like there’s a little bit of a void in your life there for a period of a time, so that made me move into the coaching ranks. And doing what I’m doing right now is definitely filling that hole and I’m passionate about it, I love it, I love the challenge of it, I just hope to get better at it with every new experience.

 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Will you still be coaching? If so, would you coach internationally or would you focus on Australia, where you’re closer to home?

I think I’ll still be coaching, I’m not too worried about. I don’t actually mind where I coach. I’m very in the moment kind of guy, like this is where I am now, and I’m looking forward to this opportunity to coach here, and whatever happens next will happen anyway. I am where I’m meant to be right now, and whatever happens next after this experience, I’m take it with open arms, whether that’s in Australia, or continue to be here in Malaysia, Europe or even the NBA. But right now, I’m here.

 

Alright coach, that’s it for now. Your team needs you on the court.

Cool, cheers man.