Jamahl Mosley first got noticed as someone with NBA coaching potential when he was hired by the Denver Nuggets as a development coach 16 years ago.
Also in Denver at the time: an assistant general manager named Jeff Weltman, now the basketball operations president of the Orlando Magic. And Weltman never forgot the impact that Mosley had on players back then.
“Jamahl made you take note,” Weltman said.
Fast-forward to Monday, when Weltman formally introduced Mosley as coach of the Magic. It’s Mosley’s first time as an NBA head coach, a hiring that many people around the league had expected to see happen somewhere for years.
“We just have to work on getting better,” Mosley said. “I think we just have to continue to grow and build and keep these guys at a level that they just want to keep coming in every single day to get better and better and better. I think that’s the important part of what this journey is going to look like.”
Mosley is inheriting a rebuilding project in Orlando, which was coached by Steve Clifford for the past three seasons. The Magic finished 21-51 this season, trading away Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier during the season to acquire young players and draft picks, and they hold two of the top eight picks in this year’s draft.
In short, there will be a lot of development going on in Orlando. That’s what made Weltman think about Mosley.
“Jamahl has a unique set of abilities,” Weltman said. “His passion, his experience, his ability to connect. He has an amazing interpersonal skill set with anyone and it stems from his compassion as a person.”
The 42-year-old Mosley has spent the last 15 years as an assistant in Denver, Cleveland and Dallas. The last seven seasons were with the Mavericks. Mosley thanked a slew of people and past coaches and employers, along with his wife and children — and his mother, who died 16 years ago.
“The dream for her to be able to see me have dreams come true, it’s a blessing and I’m grateful for that,” Mosley said.