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For week ended January 30, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

Danny Ainge enjoys time with family, friends after retiring from NBA
(BYU) NewsNet 25Jan00 S2
By Rodney Zwahlen: NewsNet Staff Writer

GILBERT, ARIZONA -- Danny Ainge may have retired from being the coach of the Phoenix Suns, but he has gone to work full time being a husband and father. "My dad's around a lot more now," said son Austin, a high school senior in Gilbert, Arizona where the family resides. "He comes to our games, he goes to church with us every week, and he can be more active in his church calling." "My dad seems to be a lot more happy and my mom seems happier, too."

Austin is a point guard at Highland High in Gilbert and has signed with BYU. He will serve a two year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before playing ball in fall of 2002.

Ainge's wife Michelle has noticed that the family morale has improved. "The difference is that we see a lot more of my husband, and he's a part of the family activities, and he seems happier, and I'm less stressed and the kids obey him better than me," she said. Ainge credits the need to retire to when he began to feel like a hypocrite.

"I just lost touch with everything," he said. "All my life I'd preached balance and priorities, but basketball had consumed me." "I can enjoy life," he said. "There are so many wonderful things going on in life -- family life with my children, my friends -- that I didn't even know I was missing out on. For two years the only contact I had with my friends was casual phone conversations."

Ainge is currently working one night a week as a color commentator on TNT for NBA games, but his passion for basketball began early in his childhood. He learned the game from his dad and then from excellent coaches at North Eugene High School in Eugene, Oregon. He led his team to 40 consecutive wins and was named all-state in football, baseball and basketball. When the choice for colleges came Ainge was glad he chose BYU.

"BYU was probably the greatest time of my life," he said. "There are a lot of life-changing decisions I made during that time of my life. I met my wife and it was as fun a time of playing basketball as I've ever had." While at BYU, Ainge set an NCAA record for scoring double figures in 112 consecutive games. He was also given the John Wooden Award as the best player in America.

Ainge appreciates the opportunity he had to play and coach in the NBA. "It made me feel responsible at a very young age that my life is not my own," he said. "That responsibility has helped me make right choices, and I've seen enough people making bad choices in my career to know the difference."


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