Paris (AP) Quinn Snyder is back in his element. Sweats, sneakers, T-shirt. Rate players, share ideas, connect with new people and reconnect with each other.
He was training again. For two days, anyway.
It’s a start.
Snyder was the director of the Confederation of African Basketball, which took place Sunday and Monday in Paris. It was the first time he had done anything serious about the game since making the decision last spring to end his tenure as head coach of the Utah Jazz after eight seasons.
“This is my vacation. A personal vacation,” Snyder told the Associated Press. “I think it’s just healthy. It was a tough decision, but this time is unique and at this point in my career, it’s something really important to me.”
Snyder made no effort to hide how much he enjoyed the two-day party, which he undertook because of his 20-year friendship with BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall. Joachim Noah and Dwyane Wade were among those sitting on the field on Monday, while Sneijder watched from a corner before leading a post-game clinic for the coaches.
It’s a big week for sports in Paris. The Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons arrived ahead of their game in the French capital on Thursday night. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is set to arrive on Tuesday and of course there is constant talk about Victor Wimpanyama – the 19-year-old French phenom who is 7-foot-3. It is widely expected to be No. 1 Pick in this year’s draft. Odds are Wimpanyama will be there Thursday night for the game, watching the players he will be playing against in about 10 months.
The Bulls landed in Paris on Monday, headed straight to the training facility for a workout, and even found themselves talking about Wembanyama.
“We hope to meet him,” said Nikola Vucevic of the Bulls Center.
And Snyder saw all the multicultural uniformity Monday, standing in France, watching players hoping to get a chance to play in Africa, with Americans, Italians, Greeks and more in the gym watching with no shortage of languages spoken.
“Basketball builds bridges,” Snyder said. “I had the opportunity to come to the Euroleague, and I worked in Russia for a year with Ettore Messina. … You can learn a lot from other people, other countries, different philosophies that make you better from a practical point of view in basketball. And then all the things that come along.” With that in person, learning about cultures and people. It’s one of the most beautiful things about sports.”
That’s why he agreed to the assignment, why he spent most of the long flight to Paris agreeing on his plans, and why he worked so hard on what would take about 45 minutes to drive a clinic. The game gave him a lot, so he got a little back this week.
And he needed a break. Known for how hard he works – “Does the man sleep?” Donovan Mitchell, the former Jazz guard, once asked, and he was serious when he asked — Snyder resigned in June after leading the Jazz to six straight playoff appearances. He was the NBA Finals Coach of the Year in 2020-21, winning nearly 60% of his games with the franchise and is one of only two coaches to finish his tenure at Utah with a winning record. Jerry Sloan is the other.
It’s time for a change. The Jazz traded Mitchell and Rudy Gobert to begin reimagining their roster, Will Hardy — who had been one of the league’s most waiting coaches — took over at Utah, and the Snyders enjoyed uninterrupted family time for the first time in forever.
He was not retired. Snyder will train again. When, no one knows, not even him. But the last couple of days I’ve reminded him of how down to earth he must be, talking ball to someone.
“Hopefully I’ll get the chance to do it again,” Snyder said.