Wizards’ Trevor Booker & Josh Howard Q+A
Booker & Howard catch up with SLAM after announcing the co-launch of their new summer tournament.
SLAM: What motivated you to team up with Trevor in doing this summer tournament?
JH: I just wanted to help Trevor out. He’s been introduced to the foundation world, as far as starting his own organization. I just wanted to be there to support him. He’s also been at a lot of my events that I’ve held in D.C. and Dallas. So I just wanted to give some love back, as far being there for him and helping him out.
SLAM: You’ll be a free agent this summer. How are you looking to approach it?
JH: I’m taking it one step at a time. Washington has been a great place for me since I got there. And I always want to give back to them, first and foremost. And then I’m going to look at what’s going on around the NBA. Of course you gotta’ worry about the lockout. If the place is the right place for me, then I’m going to go.
SLAM: Is it fair to say that Washington is the first option?
JH: Umm, Yeah. I’m not afraid to say it. It’s a great place. It’s a great city. They have great fans. And that’s something I think NBA players think about is the fans. They always show their support through the down times and through the good times. I think it would be a great place.
SLAM: You mentioned the lockout. Are you afraid that it may affect your free agency this summer?
JH: Yeah, that’s a big part of our job — the owners and players coming into an agreement. We gotta’ kind of find some heavy medium. Because I know the fans want to keep seeing the game, and I know the players love the game and want to see it. The way the playoffs are going right now, I don’t think anybody wants to miss that next season. We gotta’ get something worked out.
SLAM: How is your knee doing?
JH: It’s feeling better. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to play as much as I wanted to this past season. The training staff went over and beyond doing what they could to get me back to normal. This type of injury takes a year to a year-and-a-half. I’m just now getting to that point. So I’m feeling good.
SLAM: Do you expect to be 100% by the start of next season?
JH: Oh yeah. Expect it. That’s coming from me. Taking this whole summer as getting the old Josh Howard back that people were used to seeing back in Dallas. I’ve been away from the game a year-and-a-half and it’s time to come back.
SLAM: At the moment, how good do you feel as far a percentage?
JH: Percentage-wise, I would say 80. All I’ve been doing is rehabbing pretty much.
SLAM: What are you looking forward to doing this summer and in the offseason as far as getting your body and game ready?
JH: I’m just concentrating on the healing part of the rehab and then getting into the explosion part, that’s basketball skills and things like that in the later half of the summer – maybe late June, July.
SLAM: Being away from the game for basically over a year, how tough has the whole process been?
JH: It was tough at first. I feel like its been a learning experience, you know, not being able to play the game I love. But I think it helped me grow as a person and as a player – as far as watching the game and watching young talent. You know, John Wall, JaVale McGee, Nick Young and Andray Blatche. Just being around those young guys and helping them with the learning process of the NBA. But being out on the court those 18 games, I had as much fun as I could have, knowing that it could be limited. I really miss it and I want to get back to being out there 30 minutes.
SLAM: When you recover, how much do you feel like you could produce?
JH: I’m gonna’ go back to doing the same things I did before I got hurt. I’ve always been a high-energy guy. I’ve always loved the game and I’ve always had a high IQ for the game, so I’m just getting back into the swing of things. It’s kind of like you never forget how to ride a bike. You just pick it up not matter how long you haven’t ridden one.
SLAM: What additions do you feel this young Wizards team could benefit from this offseason?
JH: I think they need to work with the talent they have. I think is more of a confidence thing with those guys. Just gotta’ go out there and be dedicated to the game and dedicated to one another out there on the court. That’s just another step of maturity for those guys, and I see it coming in them.
SLAM: I’ve been told your foundation has some events going on throughout the summer?
JH: I got my camps coming up in the end of June in Dallas. Then my camp in Winston-Salem, North Carolina is at the last weekend of July. And then I’m going to tie that up with the Black Theatre Festival here in July, which I think is every two years.
SLAM: Coming from Dallas yourself, did you expect for the Mavs to sweep the defending champs the way they did?
JH: Oh yeah, playing in that system since I came into the league, I know what to expect from those guys. It’s been a long time coming. Last time they got here was in ’06 when I was there. I’m proud of those guys. As far as L.A., you never know what goes on in the locker rooms. Looks like there was some issues there and hopefully they could solve their problems.
SLAM: Did you find yourself having to adjust to a different culture with the Wizards after having played in a winning team at Dallas?
JH: Exactly, that’s how I made it through this past year-and-a-half. Some people have to fall to get back up to where they were. It was a different kind of experience. I had to humble myself again. I realized that things aren’t always going to be perfect but you gotta’ find some motivation and deal with it.
SLAM: What exactly has been part of the rehab regimen?
JH: I’ve been doing a lot of single leg squats. I’ve been doing a lot of hip work, as far as strengthening my hip. And a lot of core work as far as my abs. I’m trying to get the whole center of gravity back to where it was. Just trying to get back in line. I think a lot of the balance stuff I’ve been doing has been helping me out a lot.