by Maurice Bobb / @reesereport

Over the weekend, the gossip blogs were once again holding court in the Tweets. Their latest victim? Marquis Daniels of the Boston Celtics. Seems that the former Auburn standout was in a few pictures allegedly throwing gang signs and holding a red “flag,” the calling card of the notoriously violent Bloods street gang. A well-known gossip site posted the pics with the tagline: “Soo Woop!! We got some more pics of NBA Superstar Marquis Daniels…this time throwing up gang signs…and holding a red bandana!!!”

The accusations grew legs and multiple blogs lobbed grenades Daniels’ way, blasting the seven-year guard for wearing red and replacing the letter “C” in words with the letter “K,” a practice used by Bloods members to avoiding using the letter “C” because of their enmity for the rival Crips gang.

Gossip mongering about NBA players is nothing new. Hell, there’s even a friggin’ reality show, The Basketball Wives, which basically tarred and feathered players’ reputations in the League, so Daniels getting raked over the coals for his Twitter page is par for the course. Daniels, however, didn’t take kindly to the allegations and wanted to go on record to refute them. SLAMonline caught up with the Orlando native to talk about a few Cs: controversy, Celtics and (Sir) Charles.

SLAM: So what’s with the red bandana and gang signs in the pictures? Are you really in a gang?
Marquis Daniels: Of course not. The rag wasn’t mine. You want to know why I wear a lot of red? It’s simple. I think I look good in red. It looks good on me. So just because I Marquis Danielslike the color red that makes me affiliated? That makes no sense to me.

SLAM: What about the messages where you allegedly replaced the letter “C” with the letter “K?”
MD: That’s absurd, too. Who doesn’t shorten words in their text messages? And to say I replace the letter “C” with the letter “K” is crazy. Where are they getting that from? People are always searching for something negative to say. To even say that I’m in a gang is absurd. I would never put myself in that kind of situation. I respect myself, my family and my fans, especially the kids who look up to me, too much for that.

SLAM: What do you say to people who say that you at least know gang members?
MD: Look, I grew up in a rough neighborhood and I stayed away from stuff like that. My mom worked hard when I was growing up and it made me want to work hard. So when I got to college, I did what I needed to do to graduate in less than four years and kept at it when I didn’t get drafted to accomplish my dream of playing in the NBA. Watching my Mom made me want to be strong and go even harder. So now that I’ve made it, I like to go back to my neighborhood and show those that got caught up in the streets or didn’t make it out that there’s another way. I want to inspire people. There aren’t many players coming back to my neighborhood so I wanted to do that. I want to help. That’s why I always go to the schools and talk to kids. That’s why I sponsor AAU teams and help kids get scholarships. I got my degree in sociology because I wanted to help kids. I love kids. I have kids of my own. So for me, when I see kids light up when I come to the rec centers and they tell me that I inspire them, that’s everything.

SLAM: What was you initial reaction to the accusations?
MD: I was disappointed. I didn’t wanna overreact to it but it reminded me that I have to be more careful about what goes on around me. And as for them talking about me, I just think about the fact that people talked about Jesus, so who am I? People are gonna talk but why not go to the source? I’m easy to get in contact with. I have nothing to hide.

SLAM: So do you want to abandon Twitter since you now know Tweets is watchin’?
MD: Not at all. I try to stay away from blogs and be careful as possible. You gotta know when to do things and when not to do things. I use my Twitter for inspiration. I’m a very down to earth, very humble guy who talks to God a lot and tries to inspire people and I’m going to continue to do that.

SLAM: Speaking of inspiration, you must have plenty considering the Game 7 loss to the Lakers in the Finals. What’s the mindset of the team right now?
MD: That loss was really painful to deal with, but we’re gonna be OK. It made us wanna get back to work. It made us hungry.

SLAM: What are your thoughts about the moves the Celts made in the offseason?
MD: I think we got better with the additions of Shaq, Jermaine and Delonte. And we have future Hall of Famers in Kevin, Ray and Paul, and Rondo really came into his own, so I’m really looking forward to a great season.

SLAM: How big was it for Doc Rivers to return to the Celtic bench?
MD: It was huge. He’s a real players’ coach. He understands a lot. He’s very demanding and he doesn’t like to waste any time. He brings the best out of you.

SLAM: How are you in terms of health?
MD: I’m healthy. I’m over the thumb injury, and I want to come in this season and show that I can still play this game at a high level.

SLAM: What do you think your role will be on this team?
MD: I guess I’ll know that Monday. [Laughs] I think my job will be as a key defensive player to help shut down the LeBrons and Carmelos and DWades in the League.

SLAM: Great segue Marquis. What are your thoughts on the Heat’s supposed super team?
MD: I don’t wanna give ‘em that just yet. On paper they look really good but they still gotta go out there and put it all together and win games. I respect everybody in this league. Orlando is still good, Atlanta and Milwaukee was on the rise until they lost Andrew Bogut. There are some great teams in the East so it’s premature to just give it to the Heat. But this team is gonna be a force, too. We’re hungry.

SLAM: As an Auburn alum, what are your thoughts on Charles Barkley’s admission that he took agent money while he played there?
MD: Charles is always gonna be Charles. He says what people wanna hear and need to hear. Charles is a great friend. I still remember the first time I met Charles. The school was retiring his jersey and he came into the locker room and said to us: “This is my day, don’t fuck it up.”

SLAM: Sounds like the Chuckster. What’s something else you remember his saying to you about playing in the League?
MD: He told me to never be a “What if” guy. Never say “what if” about how you played the game. Always go hard. Always play hard. So when you look at yourself in the mirror each night, you never had to say what if.