Catching Up With QRich
The 11-year vet catches up with SLAMonline.
by Quinn Peterson
Every summer, NBA players put on various basketball camps in their hometown or the city they’re playing in. This year, right on schedule, Quentin Richardson was hosting his camp at DePaul University in the city he hails from — Chicago. While taking pictures with every camper and providing his words of wisdom, he was able to take a few minutes to chop it up about being from Chicago, being one of the “old guys” joining the Magic this summer, his favorite Jordan of all time, and more.
SLAM: Talk about how long you’ve been hosting the camp for. What made you start doing it?
Quentin Richardson: This is the third year of it. Basically, you know, I always wanted to do stuff like this. Bring stuff back to the community, give the kids an outlet to be out of the hood and be able to come and do something productive, fun. Something where they can come have a good time and get away from whatever they got going on at home.
SLAM: You went to Whitney Young High School, led them to a state title and really helped put them on the map, and then headed to DePaul, where you were named conference POY and are probably the most significant alum in recent years. How was your experience at each place?
QR: For me, Whitney Young is always gonna be a very special place. Those were probably some of the best years of my life. Being around the guys, I’ve still got the same group of best friends that I met right there at Whitney Young. For me to go there, it was definitely preparation for life because it’s so cultured. It’s like a melting pot over there. It was like mini-college, to be honest.
Then coming here to DePaul, it’s just being able to be here at home. I’m a very family oriented person, so, for me, it was about my people being able to see me play every night; me being able to drive 20 minutes to the Southside and go home and see my father, my sister, anybody I wanna see. So for me, that was the biggest thing that made me wanna come here. Then once I got here, it was great. We didn’t win a championship like we wanted to, but we got things turned around and headed in the right direction, and it felt good to know that we were a part of that — me, Bobby [Simmons] and Lance [Williams] — especially being from Chicago.
SLAM: DePaul has obviously had its struggles recently, but just got a new coach, Oliver Purnell. Have you gotten a chance to talk with him at all?
QR: Yeah, I actually did. I met with Coach Purnell and talked with him, and I’m excited with the direction things are going. His track record speaks for itself, he’s a great coach. I think he’s taking the right aim, trying to get some of the Chicago guys back in here. That’s kinda how we did it. We came when nobody was doing it, and after that we got Omari Sawyer, Steve Hunter, Andre Brown, Chicago kids that were All-Americans and good players. I think the city of Chicago has enough to offer. Just get a couple guys. Once one of those guys, a major guy like Derrick Rose, then all of the younger guys are say, I wanna do what Derrick Rose did.
SLAM: You mentioned staying close to home. Talk about being from Chicago and the honor of being able to put on for the city.
QR: Everybody that knows me know I love Chicago through and through. I got it all over my body, everywhere I go I rep the Chi. I’m a Chicago guy and I love everything about the city. I’ll live here when I’m done playing, it’s home for me. When I have kids I want them to be able to see some of the same things I saw when I grew up, understand where I came from, and see what I did to get where I am.
SLAM: A lot of guys get two or three years in the League, and that’s it. You’re going into your 11th year — low-key — how have you been able to maintain and get that longevity?
QR: I think that’s what I’m most proud of, throughout my career. Regardless of what’s going on, I’m still here. I had ups and downs as everyone else does, but at then end of the day, 10 years in, I’m still going. And I got another four-year deal, so I’ll have 14, you know, that’s a blessing.
SLAM: You came in with Darius Miles as the Young Guns. You all had a SLAM cover, as well. Reflect on coming in so young and where you’re at now.
QR: It’s hilarious to me now. Me being 10 years in, just now turning 30, I’m still not really that old, but in the NBA that’s old. Me and Darius talk about it all the time. It’s crazy how we really are the older guys now. I always joke with everybody now and the young guys would mess with me all season — [Michael] Beasley, [Daequan] Cook and [Mario] Chalmers — like, ‘Man, you old as hell!’ I’m like, Look, you’re right, you better hope you make it this far — I used to be just like you. I have a respect for people like Shaq. Andre Miller’s played 12 years and only missed seven games, that’s unbelievable. The season is hard, it’s long and it wears on you, but it’s what we love to do.
SLAM: You just signed on with Orlando, who’s expected to really contend for the championship. How much are you looking forward to the season and your contributions?
QR: I’m excited. It’s a great situation on a team that has a chance to contend for a title, it’s gonna be a whole lot of hard work, but I think we’re definitely ready for it. I’m leaving here Friday (August 6) to head to Miami so I can drive up to Orlando to get started working with the coaching staff. I’ll spend the rest of my summer in Orlando working toward the goal. Also, Jameer [Nelson], he has a thing out in Philly, where he invites all of the guys out on the team, no coaches, and we work out everyday. Has has different events set up for us to hang out and bond and get close. Those are some of the things you need to do if you wanna be a championship-caliber team. I’m really excited that they already have these types of things in place, and I’m just going to that situation trying to contribute.
SLAM: There was a lot of movement in the League this offseason, and you also have the young guys with Durant and Team USA. What do you think about the state of the League?
QR: I think right now the League is in a great situation. I think overall there’s gonna be a lot of good teams in the League. The Bulls got a lot better. You got Orlando, L.A., Boston, Atlanta, you still Milwaukee getting better, Oklahoma City is younger but better. Utah got Al Jefferson. When you look around, it’s some sh–. I’m still a fan of the NBA. I go home I’ve got League Pass, when I’m not playing I watch all the games, I got my favorite players I like to watch play, all of that. Of course the magnifying glass will be on L.A. and Miami, a little on us and Boston, but I think there’s a lot of teams that did a lot of good things that will be competing.
SLAM: On your Wikipedia it said you had done some acting, you were in Van Wilder. Can we look for you in any upcoming films?
QR: I’m not really in any upcoming films. I did a lot of stuff, as far as acting, when we were in L.A. because it was right there at our fingertips. We did a documentary, me and Darius, called The Youngest Guns, we were on TV shows, but right now I’m not really in a situation where I’m close to that. It was a lot of fun. I got my SAG card and all that. I wouldn’t be opposed to it, but I do have a respect for it. It’s damn hard. We only had a few little parts and it was like all day.
SLAM: Of course, you’re a big Team Jordan guy, and there’s always pictures of the Quentin Richardson PEs. What have been some of your favorite pairs that you’ve been able to hoop in over the years?
QR: First of all, that is one of my biggest honors, period: that Mike hand-picked me to be on Jordan. I still think about that sometimes. My favorite Jordan of all time is the 11, easy. We haven’t even had those PEs yet. Probably the best pair I’ve have PEs in a few years is the Six Rings. I had those in New York, I had some crazy colors. And then when I was in Phoenix, I had the 13s and the new 20s that came out. Sick. I still have them at home, actually. Whenever I get shoes, they send a gang of ‘em, I always take two pairs and put them away. So I got all of old shoes from all of my teams, even back to when I was a Clipper.
Follow Quentin Richardson on Twitter, @Qrich.