The Toronto Raptors tried to finally get over the hump for years under Dwane Casey, but LeBron James repeatedly swatted them away in the postseason. After trading for Kawhi Leonard and installing Nick Nurse as the head coach, the Raptors finally unlocked their true potential and became champions.
Before Nurse helped lead the Raptors to their first championship, he was a skinny guard for the University of Northern Iowa who would eventually embark upon a coaching career that spanned two decades before he ever got his first NBA gig. If anyone knows how to defy the odds, it’s him.
A native son of the great state of Iowa, Nurse decided that despite the fact he is a UNI alum, the Iowa State football team needed to hear his motivational words in order to get the fire they need to unseat Texas and Oklahoma in the Big 12 this year.
Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell invited Nurse to Ames in order to give the team a brief pep talk, likely relating to what these players had to do individually to come out on top as champions.
Wearing the 2019 championship ring is a nice flex from Nurse. Heck, I’d wear it everywhere as well if I had one.
Raptors head coach Nick Nurse is trying to motivate the Cyclones.
In many ways, the state of Iowa State’s program right now isn’t that dissimilar to where the Raptors have been over the last few seasons. Continuously overshadowed by more historical rivals, the Cyclones have leaned on an explosive offense to pull off upset after upset.
If we know nothing else about Nurse, we know that he’s a masterful leader and manager of personalities. If he can instill the same values in Campbell, maybe the Cyclones will finally be able to snatch the conference title away from some of the usual favorites.
Nurse will never have to pay for a drink in Canada for the rest of his life thanks to his contributions as the man who finally turned Toronto into a city of basketball champions, but he never forgot his humble roots in rural Iowa.
After growing up in Carroll, going to school in Cedar Falls, and getting his first D-League head coaching job with the old Iowa Energy and Des Moines, Nurse knows that the path to success is rarely linear. If any of these Iowa State players want an equally audacious ring on their finger, they should follow Nurse’s roadmap to success.