Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul Q + A
The two NBA stars come to NYC to support the World Basketball Festival.
by Kyle Stack / @KyleStack
It seems like half the NBA is in New York City right now, a result of the USA men’s basketball team holding practice this week before it heads to Turkey for the World Championships at the end of the month. Venues all over Manhattan have been hosting events, and yesterday the big event in town was a Jordan Brand-sponsored interview session with Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul at the Foot Locker on 125th St. in Harlem.
Those two have been in the news quite often this offseason, so their visit was highly anticipated. I got there an hour before the duo appeared and there was already a line of 50 or so people leading into a fully packed Foot Locker. Before Wade and Paul strode into the place, I was able to get in a few questions with them as they lounged in a bus parked just outside the store that was awaiting their appearance.
SLAM: Is this summer more enjoyable for you than in 2006, when you were coming off that NBA title?
Dwyane Wade: You know what, it’s been a different enjoyable. [Smiles] I can’t say it’s more enjoyable because that was one of the best times in my life basketball-wise. But this has been a different kind of joy. I’ve really enjoyed the 2010 summer just as much.
SLAM: Let’s talk about Trevor Ariza, now on the Hornets. What’s his value to your team?
Chris Paul: Oh man, he brings the ability to defend. You know what I mean? Against guys like DWade and Kobe Bryant, stuff like that. Playing against him over the years, he’s a competitor. He’s got that hunger that he showed in winning a championship with the Lakers. It’s something that we can definitely use.
SLAM: This question is for both of you. In his ‘Love of the Game‘ commercial for Jordan Brand, MJ talked about how all he needed to work on his game was his love for basketball. Is that the same for both of you or is your desire to improve based more on your competitiveness against each other and guys like LeBron and Chris [Bosh] and others?
DW: I think it’s a combination. Of course you always want to put yourself up against the best. You always want to try to match that — and others’ talent and abilities — but also it’s the love of the game from birth. Some people are just born with it and for myself and Chris, if we weren’t playing basketball for a living, we would still be playing basketball just as much. Because we love the game and the game has meant so much to both of us. The game of basketball has always given me a place to go, so the love of the game will always be there.
CP: I think for all of us, especially us, there’s always going to be that ‘love of the game’ aspect. Like Dwyane said, if there was no NBA or anything like that, we’d still be playing basketball. Like I always said, the NBA is kind of crazy. They pay us and allow us to take care of our families and play a game that we love. Like, I’m gonna play basketball anyway and you guys gonna pay me to do it? You’d have lost your mind, you know what I mean? It’s unbelievable to think that we get an opportunity to take care of our families and play a game. A game that we’ve played as a kid and it’s special. Just like MJ said — he would go play anytime. We’d do the same thing. I think DWade would tell you that when the season is over, everybody always says, “I’m gonna take a month off.” It never happens because you just love to play the game.
SLAM: What part of the World Basketball Festival are you looking forward to the most this weekend?
CP: I think a little bit of all of it. I’m especially excited about going out to the Rucker. We don’t get that opportunity that many times. I’m not from New York or anything like that. Just being apart of everything the Jordan Brand is doing but also going to the game on Sunday. (Team USA plays France in an exhibition game Sunday at Madison Square Garden. –Stack) Yeah, that’s gonna be crazy.
DW: Just being a part of the weekend. They put on a great event to be here. There are so many different things going on. Of course, the Rucker is always going to be the one that’s most exciting because it’s different.
SLAM: Have you played there?
DW: I haven’t played there. They’ve been trying to get me out there but they won’t get me out there, so being there is as close as I’ll get.
CP: [In the background] They didn’t get him when he first came out, they ain’t getting him now. [Laughs]
DW: They ain’t getting me now. [Laughs] So this will be as close as I get to playing in the Rucker, is just going.