Publish date:

Q+A Pat Croce

The minority owner of the 76ers from 1996 to 2001 and full-time
motivational speaker (his next book: Lead or Get off the Pot!)
will open the Pirate Soul museum in Florida this year.

SI: Ahoy, matey?

Croce: Yo-ho-ho.

SI: You just bought a building in Key West for $3 million so you
can pay tribute to pirates. Have you gone mad?

Croce: No, I just love pirates! I love their approach to life. No
holds barred. Go after the gold. Dead ahead. I have a Jolly Roger
tattoo on my hands, and I have a pirate-ship tattoo on my
forearm. I didn't do well in history in school, but if you
question me on the golden age of piracy from 1690 to 1725, I'd
knock your socks off.

SI: What are the highlights of your personal pirate collection?

Croce: I have some outrageous weaponry: Queen Anne pistols,
blunderbusses, buccaneer rifles. I also have Captain Thomas Tew's
treasure chest and Captain William Kidd's last journal.

SI: Which seafarer do you respect more: Cap'n Crunch or Captain

Croce: [Laughs.] Blackbeard.

SI: Do you see any parallels between piracy and how you acquired
the Sixers?

Croce: Yes. Just keep coming, and never accept no for an answer.
That's the ultimate goal, and the gold in that goal was the
Sixers' franchise.

SI: Do you have any interest in returning to the NBA?

Croce: Not presently, but I never say never.

SI: Was Larry Brown wrong to leave Philadelphia with two years on
his contract to coach the Pistons?

Croce: Yes, for two reasons: If you sign a contract, you fulfill
it. If you don't fulfill it because you want to retire and lie on
the beach, that's one thing. But to go to a team in your own
conference, come on, man.

SI: Think Larry will ever be happy?

Croce: No. But he's happy when he's unhappy.

SI: What would you have done had you discovered your coach was
betting on his own team?

Croce: I would've taken him to the training room, closed the
door, and he would never be betting--or walking around--again.

--Richard Deitsch

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