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Inside The League (16): A TLN Exclusive Interview With Former NBA All-Star Steve Mix
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Inside The League (16): A TLN Exclusive Interview With Former NBA All-Star Steve Mix

How many can boast the resume of Steve Mix? An NBA All-Star, a broadcaster, a college basketball coach, and he has his number retired at a Division 1 university. Quite impressive to say the least. Even with all that he has going on with his life, he took the time to talk to me for this week’s edition of Inside The League.

Brian Rzeppa (BR): You were born in Toledo, was it an easy choice to attend the University of Toledo?

Steve Mix (SM): Well when I was in high school I had 2 and a half full rides. My brother was going to Toledo, so I figured that I would just go there.

BR: You were drafted by the Detroit Pistons, were you happy to stay relatively close to home?

SM: Every time I was out in the park and playing, I wanted to play in the NBA. So it didn’t matter to me, I just wanted to play. I had a good friend playing for Detroit, and it just made sense to go play there.

BR: What is the conversation that occurs when you’re drafted?

SM: Well I think it was basically, here you go you’ve been drafted.

BR: You didn’t get a lot of playing time with the Pistons, but produced when you did, did you ever request more minutes?

SM: No, I never said anything to the coaching staff. Our first coach was Butch van Breda Kolff, and he always tried to get 5 lefties on the court at one time.

BR: After a couple years with the Pistons, you were waived. How did you find out about this, and how did you react?

SM: The one thing that nobody ever wants to hear is that you’re not good enough. And maybe that was a blessing in disguise, because I had to work on my perimeter game and I had to develop that.

BR: You went to the ABA for a very short time, and didn’t play in the 1972-1973 season. Why did you decide to do that?

SM: I spent time working to develop my perimeter game over the course of a year and a half.

BR: You made the All-Star team in 1975, what was that experience like?

SM: I’m sitting in the locker room looking at all these guys, and I’m like, really? I’m here with these guys. I never thought I would be one of the top 24 players in the world after being cut 5 times. It just shows that people can do anything when they believe in themselves.

BR: If there were one thing you could change about your career, what would it be?

SM: I don’t know if I would change a whole lot, because the guy I am today is because of all the times I was cut. You can’t allow people to tell you that you cant do something.

BR: What was your favorite memory for your playing days?

Being on the All-Star team and making it to 4 NBA finals. I have friends that never even made the playoffs. Rooming with Julius Erving means a lot.

11). If you had to pick a starting 5 of all-time, who would it be?

SM:

PG: Magic Johnson
SG: Michael Jordan
SF: LeBron James
PF: Hakeem Olajuwan
C: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

BR: Who is your favorite player in the NBA today?

SM: I don’t have a favorite player, but I love watching San Antonio. I love watching what Pop does with that team.

BR: How do you think the game compares to when you played?

SM: I think it’s an easier game today with all the rule changes since I played. You can’t play as physical, you can’t hand check. When you got in a fight, you got a $25 technical foul. It’s more of a superstar game.

BR: Do you watch the NCAA?

SM: I do, I broadcasted MAC games for 5 years. I really like watching some of the really good coaches that the NCAA has. I love watching their strategies change on the fly.

BR: Following your career, you went into broadcasting, what brought you to that?

SM: I kind of lucked out into that. Some guys called me and I was doing some Toledo and pistons games, and there was an opening.

BR: You are now the head coach of the women’s basketball team at Trine University. What brought you to coaching? And why Trine?

SM: They called me and asked if I wanted the job, and I said I wasn’t really looking to coach, but I had coached AAU, so I figured I’d take a chance and come in and interview.

BR: How does women’s basketball compare to men’s?

SM: Well other than the fact that everything is below the rim, but the same main concepts are still there.

BR: What is something that fans don’t see regarding being an NBA player?

SM: Well I mean it’s really getting to where you’re really out there as a player in the media all the time. It’s really difficult to have a private life anymore. Everybody is their own individual business or corporation. I think that’s a shame.

BR: What advice would you have for someone that wants to play or coach basketball professionally?

SM: Well if you want to play, you have to put a lot of time or effort in. I’m not talking about 2 hours a day. I was putting in 5 hours a day when I was working to come into the league. The better you know the game or know your opponent, the better you will be.

From a coaching standpoint, just understand the game. What can my players do? Don’t come in with a set idea of what you’re going to do, you need to see your players strengths and weaknesses.

Steve Mix was an incredible scorer during his heyday, but he may be even more known for his work off of the court. He was so popular as a broadcaster for the 76ers that there was actually a petition to bring him back. This petition said “Steve Mix brought not only a great deal of insight and basketball knowledge to Sixers broadcasts, he also had great chemistry with Marc Zumoff and an absolutely terrific sense of humor….{He} made watching our Sixers so much better, and it’s time the organization made the viewing experience a pleasure again.” From the time that I was talking to him, I can see why the fans wanted him back so badly.

Stay tuned to Trine University women’s basketball this year to see how Coach Mix is doing!

This is the sixteenth part of my weekly series, so stay tuned for more interviews from players, coaches, and general managers!

Thanks for reading.

Follow @brianrzeppa

For Previous Editions of Inside The League:

Inside The League (15): A TLN Exclusive Interview With Indiana Pacers Assistant Coach Popeye Jones

Inside The League (14): An Exclusive Interview With Orlando Magic Star Tobias Harris

Inside The League (13): An Exclusive Interview With Former Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Jon McGlocklin

Inside The League (12): An Exclusive Interview With Dallas Mavericks Founder Norm Sonju

Inside The League (11): An Exclusive Interview With Former 3rd Overall Pick Dennis Hopson

Inside The League (10): An Exclusive Interview With Former First Round Pick Dan Dickau

Inside The League (9): An Exclusive Interview With First Round Pick Turned Musician Moe Ager

Inside The League (8): An Exclusive Interview With ESPN Analyst Jay Bilas

Inside The League (7): An Exclusive Interview With Denver Nuggets’ Star Danilo Gallinari 

Inside The League (6): An Exclusive Interview With Future Hall of Famer Terry Cummings

Inside The League (5): An Exclusive Interview With Politically Involved Former Big Man Adonal Foyle

Inside The League (Bonus Edition): An Exclusive Interview With Hall of Fame Player/Coach Bill Sharman

Inside The League (4): An Exclusive Interview With Former Celtics’ Top Pick Eric Montross

Inside The League (3): An Exclusive Interview With Top Prospect Dennis Schroeder

Inside The League (2): An Exclusive Interview With Former #4 Pick Marcus Fizer

Inside The League: An Exclusive Interview With Former Atlanta Hawks GM Pete Babcock

About Brian Rzeppa