REGENSBURG (David Hein's Eye on the Future) – The topic of this column is the future of basketball, and while usually we look players who will star in years to come, this week we examine a man trying to change the way basketball is played.
All Govinda Patterson wants is a chance - a chance to teach his techniques to a player or team and a chance to see how good that player or team could be if his techniques were fully implemented.
Sure, there are always basketball junkies who come up with new theories or ideas about how the great game can be changed or revolutionized. But how many of them have received the backing of NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton, a current NBA player and veteran NBA coach Mike D'Antoni.
"The first person I tried to contact was Bill Walton just because I thought he would be most open to this – that there is actually a different way to play that’s better," Patterson said about reaching out to Walton in 2008 and demonstrating his ideas at the former great’s home in San Diego. The two-time NBA champion was wowed by Patterson's techniques and wrote a glowing letter of recommendation.
"Coach Patterson is very focused and concentrated on the value of balance for basketball players and he incorporates the best techniques that I have ever seen, used or been taught by the six Hall of Fame coaches and many others not so honored that I had the opportunity to learn from," wrote Walton, who was coached by the likes of John Wooden, Jack Ramsey and Red Auerbach.
"The game and sport of basketball is and will continue to get better because of the unique contributions of Govinda Patterson. We are all fortunate that he has chosen our game as his life's work."
Patterson founded Better Balance Sports Techniques after his basketball career was cut short due to back problems that still linger on since playing junior college ball in the United States. While working as a gym supervisor at a YMCA, Patterson started teaching kids the game. And he began implementing some of the theories of the martial arts he had taken while growing up.
Eventually, Patterson gave every aspect of basketball a martial arts spin, if you will, and he came up with what he calls "a whole new way to play the game. It's just a much more effective and efficient way to play basketball."
The main principles involved are leverage and balance.
Patterson says he has gone against many great NBA players and coaches and none have come close to stopping what he teaches – because they are so off-balance.
"I can do anything I like, and I can't even move that good. My back makes me like an old man but you can do my stuff in slow motion and it works," Patterson said.
"(Patterson) incorporates the best techniques that I have ever seen, used or been taught by the six Hall of Fame coaches and many others not so honored that I had the opportunity to learn from." - Bill Walton
One NBA player who has given a shout-out to Patterson and his techniques is veteran power forward Anthony Tolliver, who will play this season with the Sacramento Kings and said he was a little skeptical at first because he thought he had seen everything. But Tolliver admits he was proven wrong on the first day of working with Patterson.
"His techniques will take me a little while to get used to because they are different than anything I have ever seen before but they indeed are effective when used correctly. After just three days of working with Govinda, I was able to implement a couple of the methods that he taught me and saw immediate results," Tolliver wrote in a letter of recommendation for Patterson in August 2011.
Veteran NBA head coach Mike D'Antoni has twice praised Patterson’s work, with a letter of reference from May 2011 and a short video in late September in which he said: "He showed a lot of techniques showing leverage and was very thorough. The players seemed to really like it."
It was mentioned earlier that Patterson was just looking for a chance … how close has he come to getting a job with an NBA team, you might ask. He said he attends the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas every year and has talked with almost every NBA team, meeting with general managers, head coaches and assistant coaches.
"I've had three NBA head coaches try to hire me on five different teams and for some reason there’s always some executive or somebody who blocks me from getting hired," said Patterson, who has worked with D'Antoni with the New York Knicks’ Summer League team and was also with him in Los Angeles Lakers camp.
When asked why he doesn't get hired by D'Antoni, Patterson added: "He keeps getting blocked by upper management. He has tried to hire me a couple of times."
Patterson also said Jay Triano was close to hiring him with the Toronto Raptors as well as Keith Smart at Sacramento.
"Whoever learns my stuff is just going to dominate. It's not even going to be funny." - Patterson
Then what's the hold-up? Especially since it would seem any coach would want any kind of advantage they could get.
"It boggles my mind every day," Patterson admits. "I haven't had anybody who let me show them my techniques who hasn't loved it. Nobody can argue with me because the logic I teach is just solid. I have so much power and control over anybody I play just because everybody is so off balance. It doesn’t matter that I'm weaker than these big huge NBA guys. I can just toss them around like they're nothing. They’re just so off balance. It just blows my mind."
And Patterson is supremely confident that his techniques will change the balance of the game too.
"Whoever learns my stuff is just going to dominate. It's not even going to be funny."