Cartwright’s favorite genre is the blues, although he also enjoys rock.
(Not an actual photo. Although Coach can hear Jimi, he’s not actually Jimi)

Since we know that Yao Ming plays the drums (scroll to 58 seconds), at 7-1, Suns assistant coach Bill Cartwright just may be the tallest guitar player in the world. There may not be any statistical evidence to back that up, but that’s the beauty of a blog.

Cartwright, who has been on the Suns’ bench since the beginning of the 2008-09 season, has been playing the past five years for “his own amusement.” The former NBA Champion has recently evolved from strumming to finger-picking on his acoustic guitar.

To beat the grind of long road trips, Cartwright finds it therapeutic to play a few chords and let his mind wander. However, the rigors and travels of an NBA season also make it difficult for him to consistently make his lessons.

“It’s another level of thought,” he said. “It’s the ability to have both your hands working, alternating fingers and changing chords. It’s a different kind of mindset you have to have.”

Once he becomes more comfortable with the acoustic, he plans on going electric. For now, the Suns assistant prefers using his fingers over a pick.

As expected, the long-time coach also found the common thread between basketball and music.

“You have to discover things about yourself that are going to make you a little different and unique,” he said. “I’m kind of just working my way around.

“Maybe I’ll find somebody who’s like me. It’s kind of like my jump shot and my golf swing in that I’m not like anybody.”

When it came down to whether the former Bulls center was going to play lead guitar or bass, it wasn’t much of a decision. Because a bass player never gets to perform a solo, Cartwright wanted no part of that.

I suppose after 15 seasons as an entertainer in the NBA, even the greatest of team players become a little bit of a ham. Despite the desire for solo every now and again, Cartwright really would like to form a band.

Last season, both Suns players Louis Amundson and Taylor Griffin would bring their guitars on the road. But with both of them playing elsewhere this season, Cartwright will have to look away from the Suns’ roster for band members.

Although he enjoys playing covers of all genres, the University of San Francisco graduate seems towards playing the blues. He is also flirting with the idea of writing his own songs.

“I’ve never written a song but it’s something I’ve been thinking about,” he said. “It brings out another element of something that I haven’t done. I definitely have an appreciation for the guys that can do it.”

So if there is a band out there that is looking for a 7-1 lead guitarist that likes solos and is only free from his day job during August, you might just have found your guitarist…

  • jacob

    Come on, bass player never gets to perform a solo?

    how about flea, jaco pastorius, getty lee, les claypool, michael manring, jack bruce, john paul jones, trey gunn, victor whooten, stanley clarke, charles mingus, tony levin, and of course he should know of Wayman Tisdale.

    if you are good, you make a solo for yourself, no matter your instrument.

  • michael Negri

    Blues are the Roots! the rest are the fruit’s. right on Bill!