ROD MAR / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Seattle Times staff reporter
On his rookie season:
Now that your rookie season is in its final stage, what do you look back on as the wildest thing you experienced? "All the trades that went down. With three guys leaving, that was something that I've never been through before. I've never seen that, so that was the wildest thing I had to go through."
How long did it take to get past that moment? "A couple of days. Not seeing them [Wally Szczerbiak, Kurt Thomas, and Delonte West] around at practice and stuff like that, but it's a part of the game and a part of this league. So, it's something you've got to get used to."
What was the coolest moment? "Winning! Every game we won, I think that's been the coolest moment. The most memorable one was our win against the Spurs. That was cool. Obviously they're defending champions and to beat a team with players that played -- well, Tony Parker didn't play -- but Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, guys like that, to win in here [KeyArena] like that was a great win for us."
You've taken a lot of possible game-winning three-pointers and missed plenty. How do you think that will affect you in your sophomore NBA season? "Hopefully I continue to take those shots and hopefully I make them more than I miss. It's a whole learning process and I'm glad my teammates and coaches have confidence to give me the ball in late-game situations by giving me the ball. Hopefully I do them better by knocking them down."
What was your favorite NBA storyline? "Portland winning. Their winning streak was pretty phenomenal since it was the first one [of the season]. They won, what 14 in a row? We were a part of that, too. The Houston winning streak was good, too. There were a lot of good points this year."
What was the worst storyline? "When we had that losing streak. I got over that every day by coming in and working hard with the team. Not giving up was the best part about it. That kind of got my mind off it."
Who's your MVP? "Kobe Bryant. They're [tied for second] in the West right now. You could also make a case for Chris Paul, but I think Kobe for all of those years he didn't get MVP. This year is his year because he took it to another level. He's got that team rolling right now. I pick him for MVP."
Who's the MVP of the Sonics? "I would say Earl [Watson]. He's done a great job carrying us at the point with Luke [Ridnour] being hurt sometimes and not being able to play."
Who's the best dressed in the NBA? "Damien [Wilkins]. He's always looking good with the nice suits and things."
What are you most happy to see come to an end? "I'm not going to say I'm happy the season is almost over because I love playing. And I love being around here. If I had to pick one thing, I would say now that the All-Star break is over. Now the games pass a little quicker and all the wondering who's going to be in the rookie game is gone -- now I'm not getting too anxious waiting every day wondering if I'm going to get into the rookie game. I'm glad that's over with."
On basketball movies:
Have you seen "Semi-Pro" yet? "Yeah, it was an appearance we had to do for the team so we all got free tickets a day or so early [before the local release]. All of the players on the team went and we enjoyed it together at a theater in Bellevue. Everything Will Ferrell is in is funny. I got a kick out of it."
What's your favorite Will Ferell movie? "'Old School.' I bought that DVD the other day and watched it for the first time in awhile. It was cool."
Back to "Semi-Pro," were you looking forward to seeing the flick? "I was looking forward to it mostly because Will Ferrell never played a guy who played basketball before. Being in the sport, it made it real funny. He played it well. He was player, coach, owner, all of that."
What were your favorite parts? "When he would be the main attraction of the pre - game and postgame shows and when he would introduce everybody and then introduce himself, I thought that was funny. And stuff like fighting the bear and practicing their routines before games -- that was just hilarious."
What about the basketball spoofs, did you like any of those? "I remember one time at the end of the game he tried to shoot a layup and it was so terrible. He couldn't jump and he screamed -- all the things that basketball players wouldn't do. But he pulled it off and it was a great movie."
Would you ever wear tights to promote basketball? "Not at all, never!"
Is it just the tights or the actual costume? "It's the wholeâ€¦I'm not a big costume kind of guy. I don't think I would do that."
Where does "Semi-Pro" rank on your list of top basketball movies? "I would say, 'He Got Game,' 'Love & Basketball,' and then 'Semi-Pro' because it was so funny."
What about "Forget Paris?" "What's that? With Billy Crystal? I really didn't like that. 'Love & Basketball' was on a different level because they were on the floor playing. And 'He Got Game' was a high school player that was very highly touted. I like that type of stuff. But that [Forget Paris] was OK. 'White Men Can't Jump' was a good movie, too."
What genre would your basketball career fall under? "I wouldn't say comedy because it was a struggle throughout my whole career playing basketball. It was tough. It would be more of a serious role, but there would be comedians in it because all of my friends are funny. I hang around a lot of people that are funny, so it couldn't be totally serious."
And Andre Benjamin, who played Clarence Withers in "Semi-Pro," could play you? "Yeah, he could. He's skinny just like me. I don't think anybody else in the movie business is like slender and tall like me. It would probably have to be him."
He probably smiles more than you though, right? "No, I smile a lot. See, y'all just don't see it."
On Candace Parker and March Madness
Now that your "big sister" Candace Parker has declared for the WNBA draft, how do you think her rookie season will compare to yours? "She's going to come out a more highly touted player than I did. Everybody is going to come at her and she's going to have a big target on her back. They've been on her since she was in high school. But I think she can handle that, it's not a big deal to her. The NBA season and the WNBA season's are different, the WNBA is shorter and there's less back-to-backs, so she'll be fine."
Her brother, Anthony, is in the NBA, too, but will you pass on any "rookie" tips? "Naw, she doesn't need nothing from me, man. I'm just a smalltime guy. She's already got everything she needs. She's already great."
Does she give you pointers? "She gives me a couple of tips that's useful, little secret things that we talk about. She's been a good friend to me."
What about handling losing? She didn't experience too much of that at Tennessee. "I don't think they'll lose where she's at [assuming Parker is the No. 1 overall choice to Los Angeles]. They're a good team already. I mean, they're going to lose some games in the WNBA, that's a part of the game and you have to get used to it. But they've got Lisa Leslie along with other people. They're going to be very good. But a championship is hard to do in any sport. Hopefully they get it done, Leslie and Candace Parker is going to be a great tandem. That's going to be a great team."
Are you watching both the men's and women's NCAA tournaments? "I'm a big fan of March Madness in general. I'm watching the women's NIT, the NCAA -- everything. Everybody should play in the postseason. I hate to see when the seniors lose in the tournament and they get all upset. They should get to play something."
What about losing building character? "If you're not playing in the [NCAA] Tournament, first of all, you're going to feel down about yourself anyway. So, you might as well play in something -- NIT, CBI -- I never heard of that one -- but whatever, you should get to play."
Then you're the type of person who would give a trophy to everyone who competes? "Hey, I love the game so much, as much basketball as can come on [TV] is good with me."
Who were your early picks for the men's and women's Final Four? "[Men] UCLA, Texas, UNC, and Georgetown. [Women] Maryland, UConn, UNC, Tennessee."
What do you like to shop for most? "Clothes, I would say, and video games. Small stuff like that."
Do you prefer malls or specialty stores? "I like to walk around malls, see everything and window shop a little bit. Sometimes I just walk and think. To get away [from stress], sometimes I go to the mall."
What's your favorite Seattle-area mall? "I usually go to Bellevue Square or Southcenter. Nobody really recognizes me and I can walk around. I go to Foot Locker, Champs [Sports], Lucky Brand Dungareesââââ‚¬Å¡ÂÂ¬ÂÂÂ¦"
At 6-foot-9 you can fit regular clothing found at the mall? "I can fit the pants. That's about it."
What's the most you've spent in one trip? "Probably $2,000 shopping for jewelry and stuff for Christmas gifts."
What's your all-time favorite mall? "I've been to a lot of big-time malls. I'd say The Galleria [in Houston]. That was a good mall, probably the best I've ever been to so far, so I'd say that."
Have you ever been to the Mall of America? "No, that's in Minnesota, right? We play there, so hopefully I get a chance to see it."
You only have one tattoo, your mother's name, Wanda, on your left chest, when did you get that? "My birthday last year [Sept. 29]. Wherever I go, I wanted to have my mom with me at all times — even when I'm on the floor. I always touch my chest a lot, so I feel like she's on the floor with me."
What did she say when you got it? "She's not a big fan, but as long as I didn't get something with no meaning to it, she was OK. Like if I just got something just to get it, like a car. Some people get stupid stuff like a car just to get them. She just wanted something with meaning to it. So, I got her name."
Did you have to get approval? "Yeah, I always have to get approval."
What was it like? "It was like getting pinched for 30 minutes straight. It wasn't that bad. I don't think I could take sitting there for two and three hours, just sitting there with them chipping away. That's too much."
Will you get more? "I doubt it. I'm not into all of that stuff. I just wanted to get something that nobody could really see and when I hit my chest, I know who's right there. My mom is right there on the floor with me. It was something that I really wanted to get early on and I felt like my birthday was the perfect time."
With the majority of NBA players covered in tattoos, do you ever feel left out? "A lot of people like different things. That stuff may not look good on me, but Robert [Swift] has some good looking tattoos, and Delonte [West] has some good tattoos and Earl [Watson's] tattoos look very good. So, personally, on myself, I really don't like them. Guys get them for significant reasons and just because I'm in the NBA doesn't mean I have to get a tattoo. Like I said, it may not look good on me, but it looks good on some other guys. I'm just happy with the one I have."
What's the craziest one you've seen in the league? "I think Swift has the wildest one. The story he has on his whole arm and he has a big gun on his other arm. It looks good, though. That's some great artwork on his arms. But that's something I wouldn't do. Earl has a cool one on his back that says, 'La Familia [ the family]' with the cars on the back, I like that one, too."
What's your earliest memory of the All-Star game? "My favorite of all time was when they played in D.C. and Stephon Marbury hit the game-winner when he was with the Nets. I went to the 'Jam Session' as a little kid, I think I was in sixth grade, and back then it was phenomenal. I had the best time in my life. I remember the next day [Sunday during the All-Star game] I was in the car going home from my grandmother's house because I had to get ready for school on Monday and we were listening to the game on the radio. When Stephon Marbury hit the shot, me, my mother and brother just went crazy. I felt like it was a championship game. It's something that stuck out in my mind and I'll always remember it for the rest of my life."
Did you want tickets to the game? "It would have been nice, but they were expensive. My mom decided to use our money on something more useful for the family than All-Star game tickets. But it still was fun. It's still memories that stick out in my mind."
Did you think one day you'd be there playing? "If you told me back then that I'd be in a rookie game or that I'd be in the NBA, I would have looked at you like you were crazy. It's all a blessing and something I worked hard for. I've got to continue to work and hopefully one day I become an All-Star, but I've got to keep working. You know, it's a dream come true. I'm leaving on Saturday morning, so I'm just going to enjoy playing the game, relaxing and having fun. Hopefully we come out with a win against the sophomores. That would be good."
Who are you hoping to see ÂÂÂÂÂÂ-- besides Beyonce? "It really doesn't matter who it is. I know it's a lot of famous people. If I see some, I'm going to try to introduce myself and try to shake hands with them. [As for players,] I'd like to meet everybody, sit down and talk to them [veterans] and ask them how they went through their rookie year because I'm going through the same thing. Most of them came in kind of early or were young players and a lot was expected out of them. I want to see how they handled everything. It always helps a player like me to ask questions."
So, you're leaving on Saturday and have never attended an All-Star game, why not stay in New Orleans? "In years before, I haven't been in a long season like this. I want to get some rest and chill out. I'm going to go down to Texas and see my other family down there -- my teammates and my coaches. Maybe, if I'm in this league for a while, I'll get to see many All-Star games. This one I decided to take off."
How much do you miss college ball? "I miss it a lot. It's more my teammates -- hanging around with them every day -- and my coaches more than anything. It's going to be good to see them for a couple of days and go to a game [at Baylor on Saturday]. I can't wait! It's something I've been looking forward to for a long time. I'm glad I'm going down there to see all of my friends from school, professors -- everybody. It's going to be cool."
Well, then I know you watched the Longhorns' 72-69 win over Kansas on Monday, did you win anything from Jayhawk alum Nick Collison? "I won a little something off Nick, but I'll say I won bragging rights. I had on my burnt orange pants [Tuesday before Sonics practice] and he came in with a KU hoodie. I had to let him know when I walked in the door with my orange on that we pulled it out."
On getting press:
Do you remember the first article written about you? "I was in 10th grade and had played in an AAU tournament and I played pretty well against one of the top guys, as a matter of fact it was [New Orleans forward] Julian Wright. It was my coming out party. Nobody really knew about me, I was skinny kid -- 185 pounds, I would say. I just came out and tried to play hard, use my length and did things like that to get tip-ins and my teammates really made it easy for me. They'd find me off the pass and made me look good. That's when people started to recognize that I could play a little bit. I'm a prospect, I would say. They [reporter Jeff Goodman] did an [Internet] article about me saying I'm a guy that coaches need to look out for, I guess, and a lot of people read it and told me it was a great story."
How did it affect you? "As a younger player, I let it get to my head at one time. I kind of got a little cocky and that's when I started to become a humble player. It brought me right back down to size and that was something I had to go through. That first article was kind of influential."
So you really read it, you didn't just rely on what others told you? "I read it, printed it out and gave it to people -- like two or three people, my teammates. It was a big-time thing for me because a lot of people wrote me off saying I wasn't going to be this, I wasn't going to be that. Eighth grade going into high school, that's when people get noticed, but that was one of the worst years I've been through as far as people doubting me at school and people saying I'm not good. My confidence kind of hit rock bottom and I just worked hard ever since. I always worked hard, but once that article came, I kind of felt relaxed and relieved. I was happy, so I had to show everybody."
Then your game dropped off? "Yeah, I didn't play so well. I played too relaxed and went through the motions. I told myself, 'I'm just going to play because everybody knows me.' My mom, my godfather and my family told me, 'You can't do that. You're not where you want to be. You've got to keep working.' That stuck in my head and from there I just worked hard and not boasted and bragged and just let people say what they say. Don't worry about whatever others say, keep working and things will be all right."
Do you read anything about yourself anymore? "I really don't even read them, to be honest with you. If I know I'm going to be in a magazine or something like that, I'll read it then, but I don't read [things about me]. I used to do it back in high school and like a little bit last year in college, but that kind of gets you off track and not focused, so I really don't read newspapers anymore. My mom does and clips them. In the summertime when I'm bored and I don't have anything else to do, I'll read it then. Right now I'm just focusing in on what we've got to do."
Do you have an article framed? "Yeah, my 10th grade year I had my career high and it was in The Washington Post. We went undefeated throughout our conference play and the team we beat had beat us four straight years in a row. We beat them and I had like 29 points and 10 rebounds as a skinny sophomore. My mom framed that and it motivated me to keep working."
Would you ever be a sports reporter? "Never! Cause I know how players feel sometimes and I wouldn't want to be there on one of those days when you catch a player when they're on their bad mood. I thought about it before, though, that it might be cool to ask questions and things like that. But that's a tough job y'all have so, I kind of commend y'all on what y'all do. But sometimes people ask stupid questions and when you ask questions over and over, it kind of gets annoying. But it is something we have to do. I wouldn't say I hate the media. Sometimes it's fun and sometimes it's not."
Breaking a sweat:
A Seattle Weekly reporter recently wrote about getting slimed by Nick Collison's armpit in a pick-up game last summer in New York City. Has that ever happened to you? "Yeah! I want to say I ran into it like a couple of times [in practice]. When you're boxing out, he sweats so much, when he jumps up and you're still on the ground he rubs that sweat all on you. It was nasty."
Where does Nick rank among sweatiest players? "He sweats like nobody I've ever seen before. We're always teasing him about that."
Is opponent sweat bothersome during games? "Once you're in the game, you really don't think about that -- a guy sweating too much. Everybody sweats a lot. But if you're just sitting there watching, you start thinking, 'Hey, that guy sweats a lot.' That's what we say about Nick. He's sweating even during walk throughs or something like that. I guess that's how he is. He's got a lot of hair on his body, so that causes him to sweat I guess."
What's the grossest thing about playing? "I see a lot of guys spit when they're talking on the floor. That's nasty. When you see that on the floor, that's euww. I've seen it during pick-up and NBA games and that's kind of nasty to me. Once you're on the floor, it doesn't matter, there's no etiquette at all. You see some nasty stuff, but that's part of the game as well and is something you've got to get through."
What's the grossest thing you've done? "I couldn't say. I don't think [anything]."
Tell me about your new ride, the Maserati: "It's different from any car I've ever seen. I like all my cars black and it looks stunning in the black. I've got to put some tints on it and maybe some rims so hopefully it'll stand out a little bit."
Why a Maserati? "I heard a lot about it, you know how rappers put it in their songs. People told me about it and I looked on the Internet and saw one and I said, ' That's one of the cars I want to get.' My mom surprised me when she got it. That made it better as well, it was a car I always wanted and she got it as a Christmas gift."
Have you taken it out for a real drive? "I drove it a couple times to practice and stuff, but I really don't drive it that much. My cousins drive it some times and when my brother came out, I drove him around in it and stuff."
Who taught you how to drive? "Myself. The funny thing is, I got my license before I knew how to drive. I knew how to drive a tiny bit and then I went to Texas [for college] and got my license. I went through the driving test and I knew how to stay on the road and small things like that. Then I came up to Seattle to work out and I told myself , 'Man, I wanted to kill two birds with one stone and learn how to drive and work out.' I drove around Seattle and the first time I ever drove on the highway was in Seattle."
Which freeway? "It was I-5. I was scared. Man, I was scared. Luckily there was a lot of traffic, so it was like I was on the main street. But getting behind the wheel was scary my first couple of times. Last year [at 18], I didn't know how to drive at all. I didn't know what to do and thought I'd never be able to drive a car. But I taught myself."
Would you rather drive or be chauffeured? "I'd rather drive. I think being chauffeured is a form of being lazy and I don't think I'm lazy. Or at least I try not to be lazy. I don't think I have enough nerve to ask someone to drive me around. Even my mom. I'll drive her around before she drives me. And I'll be driving for a long time."
On the WNBA:
Aren't you a Mystics fan? "Yeah, I remember they made it to the playoffs one year. I remember the day I went and everything. It was the last day of summer and I was going into the ninth grade. I had to walk 10-15 minutes to the subway, ride down there and I was sitting a couple rows up from behind the bench with my godfather and one of my close friends. Chamique Holdsclaw went off. It was a proud moment for fans in D.C. to see the Mystics [do that] because they weren't so good the years before. It was a great feeling to go out there and support them."
Who would you want to play one-on-one? "Probably Candace Parker. She's going to be in the WNBA. She's a tall, big guard that can do just about anything. That's how I try to play the game as well. It would be cool to play against her. I talk to her a lot, she's like a big sister."
What do you like about the WNBA game? "They play with a lot of passion. It's just cool to see the game evolve each and every year. A lot of people are starting to watch the games a lot and the players are becoming known from people not watching them and not caring about the game to being a fan of it. I was always a fan of the game of basketball, so it didn't matter who was playing, I always watched the game. For example, I watched the Tulane versus Houston game not too long ago on TV. I just love watching the game. I think girls play with a lot of passion and are very skilled."
Did you know Lauren Jackson dropped 41 on Washington last summer: "It was 47, I think."
You know, you're right, excuse me: "Now, she's a player. She could play in the league [NBA]. She's a great player. She's one of those players that can do just about anything on the floor. I really have a lot of respect for her game. I forget where she's from [Australia], but she came over and took the game by storm and that's something I like to see. That makes the game exciting, to see a tall player like that do just about anything."
Your being at the Storm game last summer wasn't you just showboating? "No, no, I really wanted to see the game. A lot of people thought I was just showboating?"
Some did: "Nah, man! I love the game like I said! I like Sue Bird and I also like Lauren Jackson. They were playing the Shock, too, and they have some good players on their team as well. It was a good game."
Jan. 7, 2008
Chris Wilcox just suffered a pinky injury, didn't you say those were the most common in the league?: "Just looking around, yeah. A couple guys on my team have pinkies like this [crooked]. I feel like I'm part of big group, a fraternity or something. I see a lot of players with it."
When did you suffer yours?: "Actually my brother [Anthony] did it. I was 5 and he slammed my fingers in the door. I would just keep it like that [bent] and I would never move it because it hurt so bad. My Mom said, 'You've got to move your finger around before it gets stuck like that.' After a while it was stuck."
Who has the worst crooked pinky in the NBA that you've seen so far?: "Kurt Thomas' is pretty bad. Yeah, his looks pretty bad. But I think everybody is about the same."
You missed the Dec. 31 game due to a sprained left index finger, but how many times do you think you've just jammed your fingers playing ball?: "All the time. Playing basketball, you're going to jam your fingers close to probably 100 times. It's a part of the game. I think once you like sprain your finger, that's a big-time injury right there. I know it's just a finger, but throughout the game, you use it a lot. It's tough to play with a hurt finger like that."
Any special names for the pinky look?: "Not really, just a bent pinky."
Jan. 2, 2008
On the Best of 2007:
Best NBA veteran tale: "How everyone got bossed around as a rookie. I saw Jason Terry talking about it [on TV], LeBron had to do it and Wally [Szczerbiak] said he used to have to go get KG [Kevin Garnett] donuts. Here, they don't make me do too much because we don't have too many veterans. They say it's coming, but I won't remind them. It's not my responsibility to tell them to go do something."
Best movie: "'300' was good. That was just one of the first gladiator movies in a couple of years and it was very interesting. Three-hundred guys fighting almost the whole world was pretty cool."
Best hit: "There were a lot of hits that came out this year. I'd say 'Irreplaceable' -- no, I'm just playing. That's tough, top three would be 'Bed' by J. Holiday; '9MM' by David Banner with Snoop, Lil Wayne, and Akon; and 'Buy You A Drink' by T-Pain.''
Best video game: "'March Madness 08' because I'm on the cover. That's pretty cool to me and the game evolved from being a good game to a great game."
Best NBA story: "When the Warriors beat the Mavericks in the first round, that was the best story. I just watched the game as a fan. Nobody imagined that the Warriors were going to go past the first round and they got it done. It shocked everyone."
Best personal moment: "Being drafted. It's something that I always wanted to do growing up. Being able to fulfill that dream with parents and all of my family being there — that moment with them was the best moment of the year."
On the holidays:
Favorite thing about the holiday season: "Just the spirit - Christmas carols, candy canes, and gifts. All of that type of stuff. The whole Christmas spirit."
Best Christmas ever: "Every year is a great Christmas for me. They're all about the same. My mom used to surprise me and my brother and we always have fun. It's always a great day."
Hardest person to shop for: "My brothers. They like so many things that I don't know what to get them. I think I'm just going to give them money and tell them to go shopping on their own. It was hard to collect money [in the past] because I never had a job before. I gave them my love and my mom would buy gifts and put my name on it and say I bought it for them."
Favorite holiday song: "'Deck the Halls' by Beyonce. It was still my favorite song [before she sang it]. I like the melody. I know a little bit of the words."
Any New Year's resolutions?: "Just to get to know the Lord better and better each day. I think that's something I want to do, build a better relationship with the Lord. I can do that by reading my bible and praying a lot. Hopefully I stay dedicated to it and get it done. It's the first time I've made a resolution."
Beyonce is your favorite celebrity, right? "Yeah, I was hoping she was going to be at the game in New York [Dec. 12]. I heard she was there the night before. I was going to go down the court by her every time."
Were you going to introduce yourself? "No. I was going to scream or something just so she could know I was right there. I'm not a star like that. She wouldn't know who I am. I would have just made myself look dumb so she could notice who I was or something like that."
What about when you play in New Jersey in January, she could be courtside with Jay-Z, will you be nervous? "I definitely would. It was nerve-racking just thinking about it, you know, because there was a chance that she was going to be there. But I didn't see her though."
What is it about Beyonce? "There's no explanation, really. Once you see Beyonce, I don't know. With me, I just get nervous. She just has an aura around her and every time you see her she's smiling. She brightens my day up every time I see her on TV or something like that."
What do you think about the attention you get? "I don't think I'm a famous person, you know what I mean. My old friends from when I was younger used to say, 'Oh, you famous!' I told them, 'No.' You're not famous if you've seen Kobe Bryant. I mean a million people scream his name where ever he goes. And LeBron James -- people like that. I'm not a star, I'm just a regular dude. I don't think I'll ever see myself in that light. It's just on another level. I've been out with them and A.I. and people just surround you when you're walking and [they're] taking pictures. I'll never get like that, I don't think."
So what's the closest you've come to that type of experience? "I came home after my season of college last year and I went to a gym that I used to play at all the time and there was this tournament. Basically I couldn't even walk. It was something I've never seen before. There were at least 200, 300 people surrounded around the court and I was playing pickup. It was just little kids that wanted to take pictures and get autographs and stuff like that. That was the biggest moment."
When Memphis played Seattle Nov. 7, Rudy Gay commented about liking your signature Nikes, but cursed while doing so, moving you to say, 'Watch your mouth.' Is it normal for you to clean up potty mouths? "No, I was just playing with him. There was a lady over there. When there's somebody over there that's like not around our age or don't know us too well or something like that -- then I'd tell anybody that."
Where did those manners come from? "That's how I was raised by my mom and my grandmom."
Were they just strict on language or was it everything? "Just being polite to people. Saying ' Thank you' and 'You're welcome' or 'Yes, ma'am, no, ma'am.'"
And what happened if you didn't? [Smiles] "When I was younger, I'd get popped in my mouth or slapped on my hand by both of them. That was about it."
Do you try to keep it clean during games, too? "No, I say whatever comes to my mind. I try to get lost in the game a lot. So, whatever comes to my mind, that's what I'll say. I don't plan anything. It's just how the game is going and how I'm feeling."
What's your favorite sport outside of basketball? "Football."
If you could play now, what position would you be? "A wide receiver."
What was your experience playing football? "I try not to think about those games too much. I was never that good. I played offensive line and defensive line and I had a couple of sacks one game, but we never won. I was 12. I remember I gave up about four or five sacks in one game. Other than that, it was all fun. I just liked running up and down the field."
Who's your favorite player? "I'm a big-time Santana Moss fan. I think he kind of changed that team up once he came to the Skins. He's so fast and quick. I just like the way he plays."
Do you talk football with Sonics teammates? "All of us are very big football fans. I think I clash most with Kurt [Thomas] because he likes the Cowboys and I like the Redskins and we're a rivalry. I lost to him one time [this season] because they beat us at their house. We should have won. They beat us by five [28-23]. I think next game when we play at our crib, we're going to get them."
My seat: "I sit toward the aisle. I want to sit by the window, but Jeff [Green] always takes the seat. He's always the first one on the plane. When I'm the first one, I usually take the window seat. But he always runs back to the plane first."
In-flight sleeper or reader: "I do a tiny bit of reading, I listen to music and I watch movies. Half the time I'm sleeping, though. If we're going to the East Coast, I'll sleep for about a hour and watch a movie the rest of the way. I watch old movies, like last time I watched 'Into the Blue.' Just movies that I think interest me."
Must-have travel item: "My computer."
Favorite destination: "Miami might be my favorite so far. [The Sonics trip on Nov. 14] was my first time. We stayed overnight, so I got to walk over there [to South Beach] and see the city a little bit. It was fun."
Dream destination: "To go to Hawaii."
Favorite word: "'Yezzur.' It sums everything up in just one word. That's how we say it back home, it's the new slang."
What's the worst word: "Hate."
Favorite book: "It was not too long ago. It was Michael Jordan's book. I forgot the name of it. The one he co-wrote ["I Can't Except Not Trying: Michael Jordan On The Pursuit of Excellence"]."
Favorite basketball term: "Score."
Write more letters or texts?: "Texts."
My favorite dunk: "Last year we [Texas] played Colorado and I got a fastbreak dunk. I got an and-one, but it wasn't anything too serious. It was No. 6 on [SportsCenter's] Top 10. I was pretty happy about that."
Favorite all-time dunker: Vince Carter.
I wish I could ... "Windmill dunk off two feet. I can't do that at all. I just use my arms when I dunk. I wish I could jump a 39-inch vertical. I'd be alright then."
Seen a woman dunk? "Yeah, Candace Parker and this girl from Houston [Brittney Griner], she's in high school and I saw her on youtube.com. I always knew Candace could dunk."
Worst dunk on me: "I was in high school. I got a rebound, but somebody took it out of my hands and dunked on top of me. It was crazy, I try not to remember those."
Favorite cell phone brand: T-Mobile Sidekick.
Is P.J. Carlesimo on speed dial?: "[Laughs] No, no."
Who texts the most?: "My brother."
What's your ringtone?: Huey featuring Lloyd "When I Hustle."
Would you answer in public restroom?: "[Laughs] No, no."
Best Halloween costume: Never celebrated Halloween growing up
Favorite candy: Candy corn
Worst candy: Licorice
Tricks or treats: Neither
Scariest movie: "Halloween"
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