So like a Navy Seal team in Pakistan, the Philadunkia crew has been stealthing around the City of Brotherly Love locating interview targets and executing the necessary editorial directives.
Yesterday, while the world continued to celebrate the death of bin Laden and right before the Flyers fell into a 3-0 hole in Boston, Philadunkia scribe Tom Sunnergren located head coach Doug Collins in the intensive care ward of Temple University Hospital. Collins has been hospitalized for extreme exhaustion since the end of Game 5, but he mustered up enough strength to give Sunnergren a few minutes.
His wife sat by his bedside as Collins and Sunnergren talked.
After the jump, is the full transcript of Tom’s interview with Collins.
TOM SUNNERGREN: Hello Coach Collins, thanks for having me.
DOUG COLLINS: You’re welcome Tom.
SUNNERGREN: So, why did you need to be hospitalized.
DOUG COLLINS: Well, it’s a long season, and sometimes guys my age wear down a little bit as it goes along (laughs).
MRS. COLLINS: He didn’t sleep during the playoffs. At all. When he was admitted, they determined that he had had three heart attacks over the course of the season.
DOUG COLLINS: Well, honey, that’s hardly–
MRS. COLLINS: He was having a heart attack while they were checking him in, and he didn’t even realize it. He just thought he had indigestion.
(Collins looks at his wife tenderly)
MRS. COLLINS: This is going to kill you Doug. Basketball–this team–is killing you.
(Mrs. Collins looks away to hide the tears that are forming in the corners of her eyes)
SUNNERGREN: Do you expect the Sixers will give you more to work with this offseason?
MRS. COLLINS: (mutters something under breath)
DOUG COLLINS: Well, the conventional wisdom is that we need to upgrade the frontcourt, and while we’re always looking to upgrade every position, I’m not sure that’s true. Spencer Hawes, given his ability to pass the basketball to the open man — and the height to identify that open man — and generally just play away from the basket, is a really nice fit in our offense. Yes he still has glaring holes in his game, but we feel like he’s gotten better everyday since we brought him in, and he’s only 22.
So, while we’d like to improve there, and everywhere, we like Spencer a lot.
SUNNERGREN: Will you encourage management to add a three-point shooter to replace Jason Kapono? Or I guess replace what you’d hoped to get from Kapono?
DOUG COLLINS: Who?
SUNNERGREN: Jason Kapono.
DOUG COLLINS: I don’t know who that person is.
(An orderly sticks her head in the room cheerfully)
ORDERLY: Coach Collins, you have a visitor!
(Evan Turner walks in the room. He’s carrying two bags of takeout food)
EVAN TURNER: Hi Coach! Hi Mrs. Collins!
(The Collins wince)
DOUG COLLINS: (flatly) Hello Evan.
(Mrs. Collins says nothing)
EVAN TURNER: You feeling better coach? I brought you some pad tai.
DOUG COLLINS: I have very serious peanut allergies Evan. If I eat peanuts, I get very sick. And I’m already in the hospital, so I probably shouldn’t be eating something that will get me sicker.
EVAN TURNER: Oh.
(Turner sheepishly walks to the corner of the room and places the two to-go bags on a table)
EVAN TURNER: I’ll just put these over here then.
(After he sets the pad tai on the table, Turner settles in the corner of the room, where he accidentally knocks the chord powering Collins’ IV out of the wall. No one notices)
SUNNERGREN: You guys have a bit of a glut on the wing. What do you expect to do there? Who stays, who goes, how do you see that position evolving for you guys?
DOUG COLLINS: Well, I thought Dre had a fabulous season. He took a real leadership position on a young team and played some of the best basketball of his career. A lot of guys at the stage of their careers that he’s at wouldn’t accept the role that we asked him to play — more defensively focused, playing point forward at times, playing off the ball at others, less of an emphasis on scoring the ball –but he showed up every day with a smile on his face and didn’t just do what we asked, but led. Which on a team this young is crucial.
Thad also had a wonderful season for us. After struggling for a few years, we feel like he really got back to his game and found himself this season. I’m very proud of him and hope he’s wearing a Sixers uniform for a long time. At least as long as I’m coaching here.
And Jodie Meeks is also a guy who we feel can continue to grow into his role and be a big time contributor for this ball club. So we feel we’re pretty well stocked at that position.
(Evan Turner stares at the floor)
MRS COLLINS: Doug, you don’t look very good.
DOUG COLLINS: You know, I don’t feel very good either.
Moments later, Doug Collins had another heart attack. It was the second that Evan Turner was responsible for.
As I was leaving Temple, Mrs. Collins ran up to me and pushed a crumpled piece of paper in my hands with a list of free agent centers and power forwards written on it.
“Do what you can.”, she said. “I don’t think we can do this for another season.”