Raja Bell is a great NBA story. He was a mid-season pick-up by the 2000/2001 Philadelphia 76ers that lost to the Lakers in the NBA Finals. He was recommended to Larry Brown by his good friend Greg Popovich and Brown gave Bell his first chance on an NBA roster. Bell ended up playing some significant minutes as a defensive stopper that year and had a huge game seven against the Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals. Back then, Bell couldn’t shoot a lick, but through hard work he’s made himself an above average shooter and a starter shooting guard in the NBA.
Bell has come full circle after the Suns traded him and Boris Diaw to the Bobcats for Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley. He’s now once again playing for Larry Brown. Raja Bell joined Gambo & Ash on KTAR in Phoenix on Monday afternoon to discuss returning to play the team where he’s had his greatest career success, the Phoenix Suns, on Tuesday night. Truly one of the best interviews I’ve heard in awhile. Bell is very honest and open about his time in Phoenix and how it ended and some of the negative things that were said about him after he left.
Raja Bell on playing in Phoenix
“This Phoenix organization, the town and the fans hold a real dear place in my heart. It was a really great opportunity for me four years ago here. To have played on some of the teams that I played on with some of the players and had the chance to do the things that we did, ultimately we came up short, but we had some great runs and had a great time together. It was just a great ride for my family and myself.”
On never fitting in with Terry Porter:
“Steve Kerr said it best when he said that sometimes when you move things get lost in that move and I kind of felt that I was one of the pieces that might have got lost in the move. I never really found a way to work with Terry and I don’t think Terry ever really found a way to work and communicate with me. I’m not blaming Terry, it’s just as much my fault as anyone’s. It just was a situation that once we got deep enough into it, it just obvious that it wasn’t working.”
On the Suns going back to an uptempo system:
“It is a bit frustrating to see that ultimately they decided to take that route on some of the things that I was trying to share with them. I tried to say things in my way that I didn’t feel like we were in the best positions to succeed with what we had. Whether I went about that right or not, I’m sure I could have walked on eggshells more than I did, but ultimately I don’t think they wanted to hear it when I had to say it.”