Monday, August 15th, 2011 at 11:00 am  |  13 responses

Q+A: Monta Ellis

An exclusive interview with the Warriors’ star guard.

On his ME8 Foundation:

I do it really for the kids and my organization, which [targets] breast cancer and underprivileged kids. I go back, I give a check every year to the cancer foundation. I give a scholarship to a kid to Jackson State. Then, I just do school giveaways. I have my little camp. It’s something I always said I was going to do when I got big because a lot of people didn’t do it. Me growing up, I knew guys that were from there, but never came back to show that love to their city or their community or to their kids, I wanted to change that, so that’s why I did the ME8 Foundation and tried to work it that way.

Lindsay Hunter and Erick Dampier used to come back and do camps, but I couldn’t afford them, so that’s why mine only costs $45. Then, if some kids can’t go, we give out at least 10 to 15 free camp registrations.

On being a role model to kids:

It’s different, but it’s also a great feeling because you’re doing the right thing. They see that this is the right way of doing things, just life period. I know when I see most kids, they don’t just compliment me about my basketball, but those young kids, it’s crazy when they talk to me about ‘the way you act’ and this and that, and it’s touching. And another side of it, when you have your own son, then you’re trying to set an example for him anyway. And then, with my son being named after me, I don’t want to mess up his name by something that his father does. So, I try to—try—my hardest to do the right thing the majority of the time. If I do [something] bad, I’m not going to do [something] bad in front of him. But it’s great because I was in those kids’ shoes one day, looking up to somebody from the neighborhood or from the state. It’s great because some kids, like me, I didn’t have the opportunity to meet an NBA player. When I was coming up, I didn’t meet Lindsay or Erick Dampier until I got in the League.

On how he’s changed since coming into the League:

I would say, shoot, being a father and a husband. That’s a different chapter, but it’s also a great chapter. That’s probably the biggest thing to me since I got in the league. Got older.

On marriage:

I was raised in a household where I was raised by my grandparents. So, my grandparents have been married 40-some years. So, that’s all I know. When I get in a relationship, it’s being committed. Don’t get me wrong; relationships weren’t like marriage. When I got married, it was a different thing. This is who I’m going to be with for the rest of my life. This is my soul mate, this is my love and that’s the biggest thing. You’ve just got to compromise and work together.

This is my actual home, but I’ve got a house in Mississippi, too. We’re back and forth. We just get more peace out here because my family’s big and I don’t see them very often, so when we go out there, it’s all just them. But when we’re here, we can just chill and don’t really worry about anything. Her family’s here [Memphis], but they’re still not going to come out here.

On being parent during the season:

It’s hard, but they’ve got so much stuff nowadays, they make it easy for you. You’ve got Skype, you’ve got FaceTime, so it really isn’t as bad as it used to be. [Before], you just used your phone. Now, you can look at them on the computer like you’re really there. That’s the good part about it, but it’s hard and that’s another reason why, in the offseason, I just sit at home. I travel too much during the season. I don’t want to do anything. I’ll drive up and down the road, but flying, I’m not going anywhere.

Anywhere I go—Jackson, Atlanta, Texas, New Orleans—anywhere I go [in the South], I’m driving. I want to drive to Carolina.

On the lockout:

To be honest, I’m good. I’ve been preparing for it for the last few years. Then, I’m steady getting blessed every day. God, He continues to somehow find a way to send me something I need, so I’m pretty straight right now. My daughter’s (3 months old) healthy. My son (2 years old), he’s good. My wife, my family, everything’s in order. I don’t really have any complaints. I just hope it’s over sooner than later.

On playing in summer leagues or going overseas:

Not me. Nope, not me. The only thing you’ll see me doing is doing what I’m doing, in the weight room and then, I have a trainer come here, I do my little court work, and that’s it. That’s how I stay the whole summer. I don’t play pick-up ball, I’m not fitting to go overseas, talking about playing. None of that.

I don’t play any pick-up because when I first got in the League, before my senior year [of high school], I broke my wrist playing pick-up ball—I had to get pins in it—so I never played pick-up ball again. I don’t do it. I just do my individual workouts.

We’re definitely going to do that when it’s time for us to train, but other than that, if it’s not with my teammates or my organization, I’m not playing pick-up ball.

Aggrey Sam covers the Bulls for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

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  • http://slamonline.com AllDayEveryDay

    One of the best scorers in the league, who consistently get’s short-changed by the media for “not playing D”, when he is actually a pretty decent defender. He guards Kobe really well too.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/791470-lebron-james-vs-dwyane-wade-who-is-the-better-player/page/8 nbk

    Awesome. Ellis’ attitude is great, his confidence seems to be the supporting factor in his year in and year out improvement.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Good interview Aggrey.

  • Don

    Excellent read.

    Nothing but love for Monta, a hometown kid who made it and was able to provide everything for his wonderful mom.

  • That Dude

    Sounds like a really good guy.

  • http://Www.slamonline.com Nima Zarrabi

    Awesome interview, Aggrey. Can’t wait to pick up the issue.

  • baaaallislife

    Monta is the most underrated player in the NBA, both as a person and a player. He has always had a lousy reputation mostly due to the accident and his comments about steph, and the warriors being such a historically losing team. Great interview it provided outstanding insight hopefully Monta and the warriors will blow up next year.

    Also looking forward to the tricks up his sleeve cause when monta gives hints about things like this he does not disappoint.

    I also don’t think people understand how much work and time he puts into the game, sounds like thats all he does. There is a perception that he is all talent and didn’t have to work hard to get where he is. Good luck monta

  • B

    Monta is a poor man’s Iverson but thats no insult. I remember in 2010 looking forward to the matchup of AI and Monta. Old man Iverson definitely got the best of him. I was pretty surprised.

  • http://www.ispithotfire.com Michael

    If they can bring home down to 35 minutes per game, I think a lot of questions about his game (defense, efficiency) will be answered just because he’ll be less tired and be able to focus more.

  • http://GSWOffSeason.Tumblr.com Joe

    Great interview!
    @Michael – I agree. I think that the drafting of Klay Thompson and Charles Jenkins will help make a huge difference by providing depth and rest for Monta and Steph. I just hope the Warriors can add someone like Nene through free agency and that Jeremy Tyler becomes a great player. The Warriors are making positive moves and heading in the right direction to make a run for a championship.

  • Jack

    Monta knows how to give back…not a lot of people have the skill and i think a lot more people should stop saying that he is a bad defensive player because he’s not…he is easily in the top 10 best scorers and maybe even players in the league…people just don’t want to admit it.

  • http://BleacherReport Pearl

    Thanks so much for doing this article on Monta!! Monta does not get enough credit for the impact he has had on the Warriors and for the kind of young man he is developing into. People forget that Monta is only 25 years of age — which is still very young — but he shows a tremendous amount of maturity; I love what he says about family and what he says about marriage and commitment; you can tell what a great Dad he is. Good for you Monta! We are proud to have a role model like you on our team and we can’t wait until the NBA lockout is over and we can plan for WARRIORS BASKETBALL!

  • Ellis

    Hey my brother is to real for NBA players are