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2005: F.E.D.S. Magazine – Hoop Dreams

June 23, 2008

January 2005 (Vol. 4 Issue 18) —
F.E.D.S.: You were raised in Detroit?
Yeah, I grew up on the West Side. It’s considered a section of the
lower-middle class. Everything that was going on on my block, I’m sure
was going on in any-other block in any urban situation. I was raised by
my mom; I never met my dad.

Your dad was an NBA ball player. Since you never met him, did that affect your life?
When I was a shorty, I found out about it from Sam Washington, one of
the legendary guys who ran the Summer Leagues. He saw me tricking off
one day and said, "I want to bring you out here one day and bring you
down stairs to look at a projector." He showed me some footage of my
old man getting down and said, "That’s what you are going to be doing
one day – stop jacking off."

So your old man was pretty good?
Yeah. He had real game; he was the number 1 pick in the 1967 draft. He
had a game; I’m not going to front on him. Even though I didn’t get to
meet him, I’m OK because he sprinkled the gift.

Why weren’t you able to meet him?
I did a little history on my own. I realized he got traded to another
team the year I was born, which probably didn’t help the situation.
Growing up and having a loving mom, I didn’t ask for none of that; it
didn’t matter to me. She’d answer any question that I needed answered.
She was my mother and my father. So why he was not around didn’t
matter. My mother didn’t make him be a father. She was a key partner at
Chrysler for 20 years, she went out and did what she had to do to make
sure me and my sibling were eating.

Was your dad around financially?
I never met him. I know he’s still alive. I heard he lives in Kansas
City. I want to meet him one day; there ain’t no hard feelings. It’s
not like I’m living under a freeway or unhappy with my life. I’m good.
I’m going to reach out to him when the time is right.

You are part of one of the most historic freshmen classes to play
college basketball. What are some of those fondest memories of those
I was there for three years and all my memories are great. It happened
so fast, but while we were living it, it seemed to be moving so slow.
The brotherhood with the fellas, Ray, Jim, Juan, and Chris, it was real
family. In addition, the love we got from the school, our coaches Steve
Fisher and Perry Washington were incredible. The Michigan Alumni loved
us. Then when the fans got a taste of us, it was over.

You guys were top recruits; it is very uncommon for that many All-American freshmen to commit to the same university.
It was definitely uncommon. When you’re a high school All-American,
you’re picking a school where you go and get your rocks off and get a
championship, Carmelo Anthony style. What we did was go into this thing
together. You think if you get four All-Americans on the same team, it
won’t be enough basketball. Egos are going to get involved. Honestly,
Ray Jackson was an All-American in his own right too. When we brought
it together, it seemed like magic.

Recently they took one of those years away, right?
Yeah, they tried to take them all away. We wouldn’t be getting an
interview by F.E.D.S. if they didn’t snatch my banner down. That’s only
right, it comes with the territory. Everybody wants to have an
influence on the game. We knew that one day when we left the game, we
were going to see everybody wearing black shoes and black socks and big
shorts. That’s not going nowhere. It’s not like it’s a trademark or a
statistic. It’s an influence.

Ball players and fans give you props, but why do you think you became a journeyman in the league?
I think people give me props because I probably seem like a guy they
can walk up to and talk to, that they relate to. Its love when I go
places and they say I know a person named Jalen. That’s going to be a
common name soon. Secondly, in sports playing for a lot of different
teams ain’t a bad thing always. The days of Reggie Miller playing for
Indiana for 18 years is over. John Stockton playing for Utah for 19
years is over. A lot of times it’s about business, turnover in the
league. Sometimes being moved is good. It was actually a good look for
me to go from Denver, who drafted me, to Indiana to get clutch or play
for Larry Bird. Larry Bird put the stamp on my career. Who would have
known that Larry Bird would have had that kind of influence on me. I
rooted against him for so long, growing up in Detroit it’s only right.

Which one of those trades do you think hurt you the most?
I think you only get hurt when you get traded to a horrible team at a
bad time. I got traded to Chicago, who had the worst record in the
league literally. Like New Orleans this year, was Chicago when I got
traded. I didn’t act like I didn?t want to play for them. I’m going to
get my rocks off and do what I’m asked to do.

What team signed you to that big contract?
Indiana. I got a couple of more years on that.

How do you feel about the new bargaining agreement that the owners are trying to put out?
They’re trying to strong-arm us. Just like in any business. They want
to cap what we make but there is no way to cap what they make. At the
end of the day, we are employees on a salary. They are trying to put it
out there to the media and the people that we are (young brothers in
particular), seeming like we are unhappy millionaires trying to be
greedy, hanging out for more money. It’s not like that. You are apart
of the market you generate. You don’t get what you deserve out here.
You get what you negotiate. The things they are arguing over are huge
things. We going from seven year contracts to five, that’s huge. If
they could have us out there playing for free, they would know that.
The other thing is the age limit. If you don’t feel like they are good
enough to go, don’t draft ’em. Don’t try to come up with rules that
allow us to do y’all job for y’all. Executives get paid millions of
dollars to evaluate talent. You evaluate talent on potential or for it
can bring to you today. If the guy ends up being a buff, those are all
decisions you have to live with.

How was it playing with Reggie Miller?
It was all love. He’s a hall of famer; he’s a legend. I learned a lot
from him; I was his running mate. So that’s going to be special to him
and me. We dropped 40 on Philly together in the playoffs in the same

So when your contract is up you will be a great commodity – you can
start picking your teams at that point. You played for Isiah Thomas
Yeah I played for some soldiers. There is a big rumor that I may be going to New York this year.

Recently you have been in music videos. Is that for the love of music or love for the women?
Ha! Of course I love the women. I think it was more love for the music.
I’m a big music fan. Anybody that knows me knows that. Anytime I do a
video, I’m doing it for the people I got love for. If I’m in "We Gon
Make It" with Styles, Jada and Sheek. That?’ cause that’s my people.
It’s not because I’m trying to make an appearance. I was in the video
"Trade It All" for the movie Barbershop. I was in the movie; I was in
the video. I was in Atlanta and Luda was shooting. Shaka hit me up
like, "We shooting tomorrow you wanna come through?" That’s really how
those go down.

What are you driving in these days?
I got old-schools and trucks. I never really been into the cars.

We thought we saw you in a Bentley one time in California.
Yeah, maybe, but I was just driving it. That’s the same damn car niggas
tries to kill me for. Niggers shot the car nine times. My main man got
hit. He’s good though. We all good.

How long do you think you got before you hang up the shoes?
Six strong years.