Boomer Esiason: Kenny Atkinson's Ouster Was '100% Player Driven'

WFAN Host Talked To People Behind The Scenes

Boomer and Gio
March 10, 2020 - 9:12 am

WFAN's Boomer Esiason did some investigating Monday and confirmed what many people initially suspected after the Nets announced they were parting ways with coach Kenny Atkinson: that the move was "100% player driven."

"A good coach and a good man, and somebody got screwed here, especially by guys that aren't even playing," Esiason said at the start of Tuesday's "Boomer and Gio" show. "And that's the thing that's really bothersome about what happened to Kenny ... with the Nets. 

"And (general manager) Sean Marks can shovel whatever he wants to shovel ... about how this whole thing went down, but it's really disappointing when you think about it. When you really think about this culture and this collaboration that Sean Marks is trying to bring to the Nets 'cause he wants to model it after the San Antonio Spurs. Do you think the San Antonio Spurs would've ever listened to somebody to say 'fire a coach'? Do you think they would ever do that? No, they wouldn't do it."

Marks has insisted the split with Atkinson "was really just between Kenny and myself" and was made with an eye on the Nets reaching "another level." But people "behind the scenes" left Esiason with a different impression. 

"Now the players in the NBA are running the league," he said. "They are 100% running the league. They want to play for friends. They don't want to deal with actually being coached. They don't want to deal with listening to somebody that's going to grind them in practice and make them practice.

"Listening to how this thing went down over in Brooklyn, it's a farce," Boomer added. "And this whole culture thing, it's all a bunch of bull.

Nets coach Kenny Atkinson

"This is what happens when you hire superstars and you pay them gobs and gobs of guaranteed money. They can do whatever they want, say whatever they want and get rid of anybody they want."

Added Gregg Giannotti, Esiason's co-host: "Once you sold your soul, this was going to happen. Once you handed the keys over to them, this is what was going to happen." 

To listen to the open from Tuesday's "Boomer and Gio" show, click on the audio player above.