He wears crocs whenever he isn’t coaching or in a suit and tie. He doesn’t drive fancy cars or have an extravagant lifestyle. The new head coach of the Utah Valley men’s basketball team goes about his business with humility and dignity. If it wasn’t for his 6-foot, 9-inch frame, he might be unnoticeable to many.
However, Mark Madsen was definitely noticeable to his Los Angeles Laker teammates when he first walked into the locker room after being drafted 29th overall in the 2000 NBA Draft. Perhaps it was his quiet nature. Perhaps it was the fact that he didn’t have all the bling that comes with a lot of first round draft picks.
But former teammate and NBA MVP Shaquille O’Neal picked up on the uniqueness of Madsen almost instantly. Shaq explains his thoughts on Madsen in a sit down interview with Kristine Leahy on Fair Game on FS1. From buying him a truck to picking up discounted suits, Shaq was keeping the pureness that was Mark Madsen intact.
"He's the purest guy I've ever met in the NBA. It was my duty to protect him." pic.twitter.com/gRR1848rBf
— Fair Game (@FairGameonFS1) September 23, 2019
“I don’t know much about Mormons or their religion. But most rookies when they come in, they go crazy — with everything.
There are 12 guys on the team, including Mark. Eleven guys are doing what guys with money do, and Mark was not. When you’ve got 11 guys wanting to be collective, I was going to them and said, ‘Mark ain’t doing that. Stay away from him. Don’t do that.’
He told me, ‘Shaq, I don’t do that. I’m waiting until I get married.’ It was awesome to hear, because I had never heard that before.”
Madsen may be best known for his dance moves at the Lakers’ 2002 Championship parade. It was there that fans learned this guy wasn’t shy about anything.
Here is the video so you can judge for yourself.
Madsen is in his first year at the helm of the Utah Valley men’s basketball program. Utah Valley plays at Kentucky in November. Madsen has also put together a non-conference schedule that will increase revenue by $45,000. Utah Valley is a young team with a lot of new faces. There is a lot of work to be done for the new Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame inductee.
— Stanford Men's Basketball (@StanfordMBB) September 21, 2019
But for the man that Shaq refers to as “the purest guy he has ever met in the NBA,” nothing is impossible.
Utah Valley begins its first season under Madsen on November 5 when the Wolverines host Westminster.