Was basketball always your favorite sport?
It was something I loved to do. When I was growing up, I enjoyed watching the NBA but never really knew that I could be there. It was always a dream. Basketball was the favorite sport in my hometown of Springfield, IL. All the kids played at the Boys & Girls Clubs.
Were sneakers a big part of that basketball scene when you were coming up?
All kids are into sneakers. Everybody liked Jordans, anything Jordan. And I was a Penny Hardaway fan, and everybody liked the Pennys. Also, everybody liked Grant Hill, so people wore the Grant Hills, too.
What about now…what have you been wearing?
Last year, I wore Huarache 08s, but now I’m wearing the Hyperdunks.
What do you think of the Hyperdunks?
They are very light. I think for it to be so light…it is almost impossible for a shoe to be that stable as far as support. It’s crazy to think how far shoes have come! To be lightweight and durable and stable and give you the support you need.
Do you save your game sneakers or do you give them away to fans?
I have my first game’s sneakers, and then the ones from the Rookie Game from All-Star Weekend. As far as the regular season, I sign ’em and give ’em away to fans. I’ll wear a pair for a few games and then give ’em to a fan in the arena.
Having grown up in Springfield, how was it to come to Philly? Are they similar?
Springfield is laid-back whereas Philly is in your face, everyone is on top of you, ready to go crazy. Philly’s the opposite of Springfield. I didn’t realize Philly was like that until I got there. Being from the midwest and going to the east coast, you have to get adjusted to the scenery. It didn’t take me long though. I had good teammates around who helped.
Those Philly fans have some reputation!
They are passionate fans! They are really into sports in Philly. Every fan considers themselves a part of the team, so even when I’m out in public, there are fans coming up to me saying, “You should do this, you should do that.” They love their sports and feel like they are part of the organization. They are really into sports.
OK, GM time. You have to put together a team of you and four more guys…all retired players. Who’s on it?
Magic Johnson. Um…this is hard! OK, Magic at the 1, me at the 2, Scottie Pippen at the 3, Moses Malone…and we need another rebounder. McHale! Yes, Kevin McHale! I’m good with that.
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Special thanks to the House of Hoops photographers:
Caron Butler shot by Ryan Donnell
Deron Williams and David West shot by Atiba Jefferson
Michael Redd shot by Matt Salacuse
Ben Gordon and Rudy Gay shot by Peter Yang
Brandon Roy shot by Dan Monick
Kevin Durant shot by Jack Thompson
LaMarcus Aldridge shot by Brady Fontenot
Jason Richardson shot by Steven Brahms
Al Thornton shot by Williams + Hirakawa
Rashard Lewis shot by Scott Council
Andre Iguodala shot by Josh Rothstein