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Clifford Comfortable in NBA - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Clifford Comfortable in NBA

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BOSTON, Mass. -

He was born in Island Falls, Maine and was raised in Derbyline, Vermont.  Charlotte Bobcats head coach Steve cCifford is as New England as New England gets.  It's a badge he wears proudly for all those who helped him along the way to the NBA.

"The more people and experiences I had, the more confident I became in the fact that I had the right background,"  Clifford said.

For the first 18 years of his basketball career, Clifford's father, Gerald, was right by his side, teaching him the nuances in the game.  He also coached Steve and his brother Dan at north country union high school.  Steve was a 1,000 point scorer.

"Basketball is what we did and talked about," Steve Clifford said.  "My dad was a tremendously hard worker with the summer camps and clinics."

"I remember the old 8mm film that my brother and I would watch with my dad," Dan Clifford said.  "He would point things out to Steve and I.  That is where his love of basketball really began."

It's been a long road for the now 52-year old.  One that led him to schools like St. Anselm, Adelphi, Boston University and Siena before pro stints with the Knicks, Rockets, Magic and Lakers.)))

"He's seen and done it all," Bobcats forward Anthony Tolliver said.  "We respect him and in this league that's half the battle.  We've been behind him from the beginning and we've won some games too."

Later this month, the Bobcats will go to the postseason for only the second time in the franchise's ten year history.  Clifford is a huge part of that turnaround, but while recognition is nice, in reality, he's just doing what he meant to do all along.

"I'm blessed.  I'm happy.  It keeps me young.  I feel very fortunate to be here," Clifford said.

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