Converse ’11 Launch Party NYC
Interviews with Kyle Korver, Lou Williams and the Birdman as they debut the DEFCON + Pro Leather 2K11.
SLAM: You said something funny happened to you on your way here?
Kyle Korver: Yeah, I thought it was funny. So I get in the car to come here, and I drive down the street, and I look back, and who’s walking across the street but David Stern! I was like I would never be in New York for any negotiations, I’d just be in Chicago, so it’s kind of ironic I come to New York for this Converse event and I see David Stern walking across the street.
SLAM: Speaking of the Commish, how frustrating has this lockout been?
KK: Yeah, I mean, we want to play. That’s what we do, that’s our job. We want to do it, and do it well. You try to stay ready for whenever this wraps up and we get to play again. So I’ve just been working out a lot.
SLAM: Especially frustrating for you being on a team that was right there last season?
KK: Yeah, for us, we had a young team, and we had a season where I thought we worked really hard and developed some really great chemistry. You kinda have to have that cohesion to keep going. Obviously the lockouts is going to hurt every team in that way, but from our team standpoint, considering the season we had last year, and it really hurt how it ended, you just want to get back to it.
SLAM: How tough was it to watch the Finals?
KK: I didn’t watch until Game 5. I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. I couldn’t watch it.
SLAM: You and your Converse teammates all play different positions, have had different NBA paths, what brings you together under the Converse name?
KK: Converse is such a unique brand when it comes to basketball shoes. Just the whole history, and Converse itself has gone in so many different directions as shoe and a company. You’ve got the basketball line, but you also have the casual, the Chuck Taylor, obviously the music industry loves Converse. Converse really brings in a whole lot of people. I think we all like Converse for different reasons. Like I said, I think it really developed as a basketball shoe company, and it’s really come a long way. One of the first years they came back was the first year I came on board. Back then it was kind of old school-looking, and it wasn’t necessarily an amazing looking basketball shoe. How they’ve grown since then with the shoe technology and the look and everything, it’s really great to be a part of it.
SLAM: Do you feel like you were able to feel comfortable in your role in Chicago by season’s end?
KK: I think that’s something that Thibs did a really good job of, was defining roles. Guys knew exactly when they were going to go into the game, when they were going to come out, what they were supposed to do, and you had plays made for whatever your talents were. You definitely know what’s expected of you and you know how to work this summer to get ready for what he wants you to do.
SLAM: Your new nickname, Hot Sauce—when did you first hear it, and what do you think of it?
KK: I didn’t hear about it for a while. The first time I heard it, I was like “what are you guys yelling at?” and then I found out it was me. You walk down the street in Chicago and someone yells “Hot Sauce” at you, and I’m not really sure how to respond, to be honest with you. I don’t even know what it means (Laughs). I was talking to the Birdman about how he got called “Birdman,” I wasn’t even thinking about Hot Sauce but we were talking about it tonight. First time he got to be Birdman, he said it took him a couple years to get comfortable with it, and then obviously he’s very comfortable with it now. So maybe it’ll happen in a couple years, I don’t know.