Published Friday, February 15, 2013 AT 5:23 PM / Updated at 7:47 PM
Tyronn Lue’s ‘awesome” life
Lee Barfknecht Omaha World-Herald

To this day, Tyronn Lue has yet to smoke a cigarette or down an alcoholic beverage.

“But I do party,” he said. “I live in Vegas.”

The former Nebraska basketball star and 11-year NBA veteran now is an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics. His permanent home is in Las Vegas, but he returned to Lincoln for the first time in about 10 years on Friday for his induction into the NU Basketball Hall of Fame.

Lue’s straight-arrow style and all-business attitude toward basketball and his career has paid off handsomely — not just in money, but in friends, colleagues and experiences.

“My life is awesome,” he said. “To have had a chance to play for the Lakers and win two championships, to play with Kobe and Shaq and Dennis Rodman and Michael Jordan, and be coached by Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers, and playing with Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki and Yao Ming and Dwight Howard and Tracey McGrady — my experience has been unbelievable.

“I wouldn’t trade it in for anything in the world.”

Lue said being a coach is a far different life than playing.

“A lot of it is being a counselor and ego management,” he said. “That’s the toughest thing. How to deal with the guys.

“If you don’t have talent in the NBA, you aren’t going to win. And if you have talent, you have to manage egos.”

About Lee Barfknecht

Lee Barfknecht has won nine national writing awards from four separate organizations, and is a 12-time winner of the Nebraska sportswriter of the year award. He covers Big Ten football and basketball, Nebraska basketball and other college financial issues for The World-Herald. You can email Lee at lee.barfknecht@owh.com