Tim Floyd gets it.
Despite a 40-year coaching career that included more than 400 college victories and a winning percentage over .610, eight trips to the NCAA Tournament with two Sweet 16 appearances and one trip to the NBA playoffs, he knows what most will likely remember.
"My time with the Bulls will probably be the first line in my obituary," Floyd said, not bothering to suppress the ensuing chuckle.
In November, Floyd abruptly resigned from coaching the University of Texas-El Paso, where he started as a graduate assistant under the legendary Don Haskins at age 23. Eight months later, his sense of humor strongly intact, he sounded very much like a grandfather at peace with his place in the world.
"I retired at the pinnacle of a very mediocre career," Floyd cracked.
That, of course, sells short the coaching chops that in 1998 attracted then-Bulls general manager Jerry Krause to Floyd, whom Krause tapped to replace the legendary Phil Jackson when the dynasty dissolved. It also doesn't capture Floyd's recruiting ability, which led to hot water when he resigned from USC in 2009 after internal and NCAA investigations.
None of this weighs on Floyd, 64, as he moves into his sunset years. He chases around his three granddaughters. He fishes and plays golf. He jokes that he needs to lose 20 pounds after eating "too much Mexican food" in El Paso.
As he strolled into the Thomas & Mack Center with Bulls GM Gar Forman and coach Fred Hoiberg – whom he hired and coached at Iowa State, respectively – a reflective Floyd sounded appreciative for the opportunity to be a basketball fan.
"I'm just enjoying life," he said. "This business can make you angry at times. And I haven't been angry one day since I left."
Floyd went 49-190 with the Bulls before resigning in sudden and dramatic fashion on Christmas Eve 2001. His once-close relationship with Krause had deteriorated, the stress of losing – and doing so with two rebuilding plans in four seasons and so many young players – wearing on both men.
A whopping 33 players from Floyd's tenure never played another NBA game after their Bulls stints.
"I remember the excitement of initially getting the job and then the reality that it was going to be a process, much like what Philadelphia has had to go through," Floyd said. "You have a job and you try to do the very best with it. At that time, it was a new adventure in the NBA. We were the first team to go young. And we tried to weather the storm the best we could.
"I was really grateful to (Bulls Chairman) Jerry Reinsdorf for giving me that opportunity. It was a tough deal because we all like to win games. And we just didn't win as much as anybody would've liked."
Floyd took a season off, returned to guide the New Orleans Hornets to a 41-41 mark and a tough, seven-game loss to the Heat in the playoffs before getting fired and landing at USC. His seven-season run at UTEP seemed a fitting bookend to his career, which ended when he resigned six games into last season.
"It just seemed right," Floyd said. "There had been a lot of changes in the college game, and I just got to the point where I kind of felt like the recruiting part of it had become distasteful. And keeping a player had become even more distasteful. And so I felt like it was time for somebody else to have all the fun that I had had and take that challenge on. And I felt at that point that maybe somebody else could do a better job.
"I've been very fortunate to have the opportunities that I had. I feel so grateful when I look back. I started as a 23-year-old grad assistant who was able to get to the finish line. What our family was able to experience, the places we were able to live in and the people we were able to meet, the lives that touched me, all those things are beautiful."
It's this perspective that allows Floyd to dismiss a question on whether his Bulls tenure scarred him. In fact, Floyd doesn't even sound like he views his time in Chicago as a negative. His family loved living there.
And there's something else.
"I met a doctor, man by the name of Steve Devries, who was in preventative heart care," Floyd said. "He really was a great help to me as I moved forward."
No male member of Floyd's family had lived past 53. Floyd's father, uncle, grandfather, great-grandfather and five other extended family members all dealt with heart issues. And yet here Floyd is, in his 60s, catching a basketball game as a fan with plans to play golf in his immediate future.
"That was one of the great things about my time in Chicago, meeting that doctor," Floyd said. "Obviously, I kind of like still being here."