Mike Fratello believes the time may have arrived to break down a barrier in the NBA and give a European a shot at becoming a head coach. The former Atlanta Memphis and Cleveland playcaller has spent the past two weeks pitting himself against some of the continent's most accomplished tactical minds in his capacity in charge of Ukraine's national team at EuroBasket. Fratello 66 prominent now during the NBA season as a broadcaster has been traveling across the Atlantic in a basketball capacity for more than two decades conducting clinics sharing his knowledge and broadcasting games back to home. But since his appointment with the Ukrainians in 2011 he's gotten a firsthand insight into the abilities of his European counterparts. And it is he claims only a matter of time before the door is kicked open for them to pursue job openings in the NBA. "It's coming" he told ESPN.com. "We've had more people from other European countries moving into positions of prominence in the NBA in front offices. We now have people from other countries who own teams in the NBA presidents general managers. Assistant coaches scouts who represent many countries." But not as yet a head coach. Ettore Messina was reported as a strong candidate to fill the vacancy with the Atlanta Hawks this offseason but the Italian who spent a year on the Lakers bench under Mike Brown remains at the helm of Russia's CSKA Moscow. It might still Fratello declares require a leap of faith to cross the Rubicon. "It will take a GM from somewhere who has a very understanding owner a GM believing and trusting in the person that he's going to select and convincing his owner to trust that this guy can coach" he said. "Obviously it would have to be a coach who speaks English right now to make the transition smooth; otherwise you have to have an interpreter next to him every time. I'm not sure how well that could work for him if he could get across everything he wanted to quickly enough.
Mike Fratello believes the time has arrived for European head coach in the NBA
ESPN | Sep 16