Friday, October 27, 2006

NJ Nets seek services of Mo

All-Star closer, all-time postseason ERA leader... all-world motivational speaker?

Mariano Rivera made a pitch of a different sort yesterday. At the Nets' request, the Yankees star stopped by Jersey's morning shootaround to speak to the team.

  • "In our humble opinion, we think he's the greatest relief pitcher in history, but yet he's such a humble human being," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said before last night's 109-107 preseason victory over the Celtics. "All he talked about was team. He had some great, great nuggets and a message for our guys. It was great that he was willing to share his time."

Rivera didn't speak to reporters, but he talked to the Nets about commitment and staying on top. Although the Nets have a ways to go to match the Bombers' 26 championships, they've won four of the last five Atlantic Division titles and have become a fixture in the playoffs.

"We talk about being able to achieve great things, but you like to talk to people in other venues - whether it be sports, business or society - who've achieved great things, yet have such a humble demeanor about them," Frank said.

  • "When someone like Mariano Rivera comes in and all he talks about is team, and he's the greatest relief pitcher in the history of the game, that says a lot about his character."

Report by Darren Everson, NY Daily News, 10/25/06

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