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March 29, 2023


Kenny Atkinson, a former NBA player and coach, is known for his contributions to developing talented players and teams in basketball. He has had a remarkable career, but it was not always sunshine and rainbows. This blog post takes a candid look into the rise and fall of Kenny Atkinson, from his humble beginnings to his current state of affairs.

Rise to Fame

Kenny Atkinson started his coaching career as an assistant coach with the New York Knicks. Later, he coached for the Atlanta Hawks, where he gained prominence for his player development skills and his team’s fight for the playoffs. He then became the coach for the young Brooklyn Nets team, leading them to an impressive turnaround with a winning record and making the playoffs for two consecutive years. His coaching style emphasized team cohesion, emphasis on defense, and a fast-paced playing style.

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The Fall

Despite Atkinson’s success in turning around the Nets franchise, he was fired in March 2020. The team was performing relatively well at the time but was struggling with injuries and player absences. There are various speculations surrounding his firing, including disagreements with the team’s management, tension among team members, and a player revolt. Ultimately, the Brooklyn Nets management decided to part ways with Kenny Atkinson.

Atkinson’s Coaching Style and Contributions

Kenny Atkinson is best known for his emphasis on player development. He emphasizes a fast-paced playing style, team cohesion, and defensive strategies. Atkinson is dedicated to his players, and his main focus is to get the best out of them. He has worked with some of the best players in the NBA, including D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie, helping them reach their full potential. Under his leadership, the Brooklyn Nets became known as a team of “underdogs,” and he focused on developing a culture of hard work and perseverance.

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Why Was Atkinson Fired?

There are various speculations surrounding Atkinson’s termination as the coach for the Brooklyn Nets. However, the most prominent one is his alleged disagreements with superstar Kyrie Irving. Allegedly, Atkinson’s values and coaching style did not align with what Irving wanted. Furthermore, various reports suggest that Atkinson was not given enough input on player transactions, and he had disagreements with management.

What’s Next for Atkinson?

Atkinson is currently a free agent, and his future in the NBA is uncertain. However, given his vast experience as a player and a coach, it is highly likely that some team would choose to hire him. He has the potential to become a head coach for another team or might choose to continue as an assistant coach. It would be interesting to see where Atkinson’s career goes from here.

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Atkinson’s Legacy

Kenny Atkinson’s contributions to the NBA as a coach would not be forgotten anytime soon. He has had a significant impact on the league, developing and nurturing young talent into successful players. His focus on creating an underdog culture, emphasizing team cohesion, and playing an attacking style of the game has made him a respected figure in the league.


Q1: What is Kenny Atkinson known for?
A1: Kenny Atkinson is known for his player development skills, his emphasis on team cohesion, and his dedication to defensive strategies.

Q2: Was Atkinson successful as the coach of the Brooklyn Nets?
A2: Yes, he was successful, leading the team to their first playoff appearance in 4 years in 2018-19 and to a record of 28-34 before being fired in March 2020.

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Q3: What is Atkinson’s playing style?
A3: Atkinson emphasizes a fast-paced playing style, team-player cohesion, and defensive strategies.

Q4: Why was Atkinson fired from the Brooklyn Nets?
A4: There are various speculations regarding his firing, including disagreements with the team’s management, tension among the team members, and a player revolt.

Q5: What’s next for Kenny Atkinson?
A5: It is uncertain what the future holds for Atkinson. However, he has the potential to become a head coach or might choose to continue as an assistant coach.

Q6: What is Atkinson’s legacy?
A6: Atkinson’s legacy includes his contributions to developing young talent, his focus on creating an underdog culture, and his successful player development skills.

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Q7: Has Atkinson won any awards as a coach?
A7: No, Atkinson has not won any awards as a coach. However, his success in player development and team building has made him a respected figure in the NBA.


Kenny Atkinson’s career as a coach has been a rollercoaster ride, with significant successes and a sudden fall. His emphasis on player development and team cohesion has been his most significant contribution to the league. While his future in the NBA is uncertain, the effects of his style and philosophy will be felt for years to come.

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