Q+A: Rashard Lewis
The Miami swingman talks about his opportunity with the Heat, Dwight leaving the Magic and more.
by Tracy Weissenberg / @basketballista
During Miami’s offseason, a lot of focus centered on new addition Ray Allen. However, the Heat quietly picked up Rashard Lewis, a two-time All-Star ready to bounce back from an injury-plagued past few seasons.
SLAM: What factors led you to sign with Miami?
Rashard Lewis: I’m at a point in my career to want to win a Championship and it’s not all about the accolades, being an All-Star, scoring, none of that. I just felt like this was the best fit team to give me a chance to compete for a title. We haven’t done it yet, so we got our work cut out for us. If you look at the history of guys that defend an NBA Championship, it’s very tough to do that.
RL: I was talking to Atlanta, [and] there was a couple of other teams but once Pat Riley called, I pretty much had my mind made up what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. It’s just something you think about not only during free agency, but before you become a free agent.
SLAM: A lot of veterans have to sacrifice when playing for a team with a chance to win a title. But your skill set fits in well with the Heat.
RL: Well you most definitely got to sacrifice—[on] any Championship team, guys on the team have to sacrifice ’cause you got a lot of great talent on the team. I’m sure DWade had to sacrifice as well as Chris Bosh. That’s just something that I’m gonna have to do as well. Coming off the bench, playing five, 10 minutes, whatever it is, I’m willing to do that to go out there and make basketball plays to win a Championship.
SLAM: How tough were your last two seasons, dealing with a lot of transitions?
RL: It’s most definitely been tough, not only just playing on a team that was rebuilding, just fighting the injuries with the bad knee. It’s the first time I’ve felt this healthy in a while so I’m trying my best to take advantage of it.
SLAM: Obviously, injuries limited the number of games you played in. Now, being back on the floor, do you feel like you are in game shape?
RL: No, not yet. When you haven’t played in so long, you got to really get your condition up. It’s not only condition, but getting your legs up under you, especially when you’re a jump shooter. It’s gonna take some time but that’s why I gotta keep working every day, and keep running and keep pushing myself, and hopefully by the beginning of the regular season, my legs will be under me and I’ll be ready to go.
SLAM: You, like everybody else, always saw the Heat from the outside looking in. Now that you’re a member, is there anything you didn’t realize about this team that you now know?
RL: It’s a great bunch of guys. They get scrutinized in the media and talked about negative, but these guys are great teammates, they love to have fun. Of course they’re very serious about the game of basketball, but other than that, they like to have fun.
SLAM: Did you follow the Magic’s Dwight Howard situation while you were with the Wizards?
RL: Oh yeah, I most definitely followed them because I still have close friends that were playing on that team. I thought it was a little upsetting, especially for the fans, the city of Orlando. They were great fans—they supported us a lot. It’s just something that, now they’re in rebuilding stages, and I’m wishing Jameer Nelson as well as Hedo Turkoglu a lot of luck.
SLAM: Do you think that the media never got the full story and that people don’t know the big picture?
RL: I still don’t know the full story, so I don’t think the real story will ever come out. I think they just messed up by letting it get into the media, they should have kept it in-house and kept it in the locker room. When you let it get out to the media, that’s when people speculate and make up things and just so many stories come out just ’cause of the fact that you let everybody get a hold of the story.
SLAM: Have you talked to Dwight since he went to Los Angeles?
RL: No, I haven’t talked to him. We kind of text a little bit back and forth but other than that, I’m sure he’s focused on training camp and getting his back healthy as well as I’ve been trying to focus on getting healthy and getting ready to play with these guys.
SLAM: It should be an interesting season with all the moves around the League—Miami, which you’re a part of, plus both L.A. teams, the Knicks, Nets…
RL: It’s gonna be fun. There’s a lot of good teams. It’s not just one or two teams that’s gonna be competing to get to the Finals. It’s a lot of teams in the East, it’s a lot of teams in the West and I think this will be a great year for the fans, for the NBA, and I think anything could happen.