Athletes, Celebrities Talk NBA
Basketball and football players discuss hoops at Justin Tuck’s billiards tourney.
Landry Fields, guard, New York Knicks
SLAM: What have you been doing this off-season?
Landry Fields: Working out hard. I took a few weeks off after the season to get my body right, my mind back to neutral. And just working on a lot of stuff.
SLAM: Did the end of the season take more out of you than you thought it would?
LF: Yeah, I mean, the season is so long. Mentally, you have to be prepared each game, each practice. Towards the end there it got a little tough. But next year I know what to expect and I think the experience will help me out a lot.
SLAM: What do you have to do to get into that kind of shape?
LF: I think it’s just gonna be better based on experience. I know what to expect; mentally, I’ll be more prepared for the grind and the kind of mental and physical condition.
SLAM: Andy said you guys were going out West, training at Athlete’s Performance.
LF: Yes, that’s where we’ll be. Gonna get some skin on our skin, get a little tan. It should be fun.
SLAM: You gonna show him around California?
LF: I definitely need to. He’s a major East Coast guy, so we got to change his swag up a little bit.
SLAM: Yeah. You watching the Finals?
LF: I didn’t see Game 1. I saw the highights. It should be an interesting series, so I’m excited for it.
SLAM: Is it tough to watch not being out there?
LF: Yeah, I get mad watching it. I was like that after all the playoffs. Next year, hopefully we’ll be there.
SLAM: What do you think is the key to this series?
LF: Defensively, collectively, as a group. I think guys like Dirk or LeBron, they’re going to get theirs. They’re phenomenal offensive players. So, I think the better team defensively will win.
SLAM: What do you have to say about Shaq’s retirement?
LF: I mean, a phenomenal player. I remember growing up as a Laker fan and all he did for the Lakers. He’s great, he’s a legend, Hall-of-Fame player. It’s sad to see him go, but he had a tremendous career.
SLAM: Do you have any stories of him this year?
LF: Nothing much, I really don’t. I played him once in the preseason and went baseline and saw him there. He definitely altered my shot.
SLAM: Who’s your NBA team?
Justin Tuck: Knicks.
SLAM: Are you watching the Finals?
SLAM: Who you got in the series?
JT: I’m a huge Jason Kidd fan, so I want them to win it; I just think Miami is a little too much.
SLAM: Why are you such a big Kidd fan?
JT: I just love how he plays. I had an opportunity to meet him. He’s just a great guy.
SLAM: Who would you like to see the Knicks draft? I know you’re a Notre Dame guy, so maybe Ben Hansbrough?
JT: The Knicks? Draft? [Laughs] The guys I want them to draft won’t be there when they have to pick. I don’t know but I’d love to see them get a center – a real dominant center. You know, names like Dwight Howard. Wishful thinking.
SLAM: How many games did you watch this past season?
JT: I was at the Garden 16 times this past year.
SLAM: How different did they look in the playoffs versus earlier in the year?
JT: I think the Carmelo trade…we’ll see the benefits of that this year. They get the opportunity to have a camp together and work on their chemistry and things of that nature. But I think you’ll see the benefits of that next season.
SLAM: Do you know Shaq?
JT: I don’t. I met him but I wouldn’t say I know him.
SLAM: Do you believe he’ll stay retired?
JT: I think he is. After the last few years he’s had…for a guy who was as good as he was you want to try to go out on as high a note as you can. And I just feel as though the injury bug is plaguing him now. So, if it is his last hurrah what a career he’s had. The Big Aristotle. That’s my favorite [nickname].
SLAM: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had those statements about wanting a statue. What current NBA player deserves a statue the most?
JT: I think Kobe would be the first guy. For his longevity with one team. You would think if LeBron had stayed in Cleveland, he would have one in Cleveland. Dirk. As his career goes along, you’re gonna probably see a Dwight Howard statue somewhere. There’s a lot of guys – Chris Paul in New Orleans, considering what he’s done for that community. It depends on how their careers go and how long they stay with one team.
SLAM: Do you think the NBA players can take anything from the NFL’s lockout and apply it to the League’s ongoing labor situation?
JT: I think the biggest thing is just patience, not making it personal. If you make it personal, then it’s going to weigh on you a lot more than if you just consider it a business. I don’t know if there’s anything else I can say that aligns with what they’re going through and what we’re going through.
Their situation is a little bit deeper than ours. I think we’re going to play. I’ve had an opportunity to talk with a lot of NBA execs and they really feel as though they’re going to lose some games this year.
SLAM: There are some guys who remove themselves from the process and then others who are very much in the process and know what the talking points are.
JT: Well, I hope so. I think the more briefed you are, the better you are in the situation. First of all, I hope all our players are very aware of what’s going on. But I hope the NBA players are the same.