He is the most significant hire ever in the history of Japan basketball based on his overall career and name recognition.
He's a man with five NBA championship rings -- three as the Chicago Bulls' starting center in their first three-peat (1991-93), and later as an assistant to Phil Jackson on the final two campaigns on their second three-peat. He saw Michael Jordan's competitive drive day in and day out. ...
Cartwright, picked No. 3 overall in the 1979 NBA Draft (Magic Johnson went No. 1), brings a wealth of knowledge and decades of competition in the game to his new job. He is the second ex-NBA head coach to take over as a bj-league bench boss; Bob Hill was in charge of the Tokyo Apache for all 34 games in the 2010-11 season.
Cartwright brings confidence, patience and a we-must-improve mind-set to his new job a decade after he coached his final game for the Bulls in 2003. (He played in the NBA from 1979-95, and was always a keen observer about the game's ebb and flow and what it takes to be successful.)
After his dismissal from the Bulls, Cartwright landed on his feet. He's absorbed nearly another decade as an NBA coach, though, as he's matured, gained wisdom and ... become a grandfather. Cartwright served four years as a New Jersey Nets assistant and another four with the Phoenix Suns (2008-12) before a year away from the NBA grind, his first-ever year of non-full-time-basketball work since his college career began in the 1970s at the University of San Francisco.
What lasting impact will Cartwright make on Japanese basketball? That will be a fascinating thing to find out.
And don't forget this: Success for Big Bill here would help raise the entire Japanese basketball profile.