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As shutdown continues, Nets talking to sports leagues around the world

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

In an interview with New Zealand’s “The Crowd Goes Wild,” Auckland native Sean Marks said the Nets are in tough with various sports leagues and teams around the world, looking for information on how everyone in sports is coping with the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re talking to various soccer leagues, rugby leagues and GMs and presidents all around the world. This is a time when we’re all going to come together and fight this together,” Marks told Andrew Mulligan of CGW’s show, The Social Cut.

As he has noted in the past, Marks said that in the aftermath of the NBA’s shutdown, the emphasis was on player health.

“First and foremost, [we] concentrated to make sure everyone was 1) healthy and their loved ones were safe and healthy and so forth. That’s going to be the No. 1 priority as we navigate this, the whole time,” he told Mulligan. “To be honest, we play a sport and are damn lucky to do so. This transcends basketball.

Marks echoed NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in discussing how the data, not some arbitrary date, will drive any decision to return.

“The NBA is going to be focusing on how society in general is navigating this. This is not something that we’re going to be in the forefront of pushing guys. As he’s said, it’s always been health and safety first,” Marks noted.

Marks spoke as well as how some advised him not to take the Nets job back in 2016. At that point, the Nets were coming off a 21-win season and had few, if any, draft picks.

“Look, I’m competitive like anyone else. People say it can’t be done or you shouldn’t do this or shouldn’t do that, I’ll obviously listen to them all but at the same time, I bet on the people. I bet on the people who joined me here,” he told Mulligan. “Everybody who’s come to Brooklyn has left a job —just like I did— has left a job and I think that speaks volumes about what people are ready to sacrifice for what they believe in here.”

Speaking about his days as an assistant coach, then assistant GM in San Antonio, Marks spoke highly of Gregg Popovich’s character.

“Something that is missed or is not brought up with Pop is the level of empathy he has, the level of care he has for his players and staff. And he’s never ... I don’t think ever looked at someone who’s come in and worn the Spurs jersey as a basketball player. It’s always been as a person first.”

Popovich has been rumored as a potential Nets head coach candidate ... in the unlikely event he leaves the Spurs.

Mulligan’s co-host James McOnie wondered if Marks still answered to his school nickname, “Skid.” Mulligan said he didn’t ask.