Sam Mitchell should be a spokesman for the NBA's Read to Achieve program.
The Raptors coach, who recently has faced criticism because of his team's poor play, seemed to be inspired last night after reading a few passages from religious book titled David, comparing David's battle with Goliath to real life.
"The author of the book uses things David went through (and puts them in) today's terms," Mitchell said. "I read it for myself to remind myself when going through tough times what they're about. Everything you go through in life, it's a lesson to be learned. Whether you're open and willing to learn it is whether you're going to get it or not."
Not only is Mitchell dealing with adversity at the arena, he returned home to Georgia on an off-day Tuesday to attend the funeral of an aunt.
But before the Raptors faced the Magic last night in Orlando, an upbeat Mitchell was as chatty as ever with reporters as he detailed what he says to his team when it's struggling and how he keeps his head on straight.
"I keep telling people there is a reason why I'm here, a reason why I'm coach," he said. "You've got to be resilient ... Life tests you, situations test you. You've just got to keep believing, keep hanging in there and things are eventually going to turn. They're not going to turn if you give up, not going to turn if put your head down. The only people that win are the people that get out there and participate in life."
Mitchell also talked about a passage from the book that mentions how people make quick judgments on others based on how they first look.
"I'm sure the first time Bill Gates walked into someone's office and asked for $50,000, the way he was looking back then, people probably looked at him and said no way," Mitchell said. "I'd bet we'd all line up and pawn our last watch or ring to give him $50,000 now."
ANOTHER BOSH IN WAITING?
With Chris Bosh (sore left knee) still out, Mitchell said he has been putting rookie Andrea Bargnani in similar positions to the team's star on the court. It's all part of a plan to aid Bosh down the road.
"My hope for this team without Chris is that other guys develop a little bit more of an aggressive nature on offence," he said. "So when Chris comes back, we can actually have (help for him)."