Dime Drop: Phil ‘The Gift’ Heath
On the cutting room floor with Mr. Olympia.
by Maurice Bobb / @ReeseReport
The NBA’s latest campaign boasts that BIG things are coming, but it doesn’t get any bigger than the reigning Mr. Olympia, Phil Heath. We caught up with The Gift himself for our Dime Drop in SLAM 154 and as is the case in most of these interviews, there was a lot left on the cutting room floor. Here, we’ll treat you to Heath’s Dime Drop interview as well as some of the other quotables that didn’t make it in the mag. And since we’re only a few days into the New Year, the tips the champ doled out for getting ripped may serve you well. If not, you can pass them on to Boris Diaw.
SLAM: So you won state in high school?
Phil Heath: Yes, Jamal and I won the state title together in ’98 in the Kingdome. That game is on YouTube now that I think about it. Those were some great times. In fact, I just saw on Twitter where someone asked Jamal, “What was your greatest basketball moment?” and he said, “Winning a state championship in 1998.” Jamal was a beast. He transferred to Rainer during my senior year. My numbers went down from like 16 ppg to like 12 ppg, but it was fun because we won. Guys would double Jamal when he’d penetrate, he’d kick it out to me and I’d knock it down. My three-point percentage was over 45 percent. Or I’d steal the ball and dunk it on the other end.
SLAM: You could dunk?
PH: Not only could I dunk, but I was also always our representative in high school slam-dunk contests. I could do 360 windmills and all kinds of cool dunks back then.
SLAM: A lot of guys came out of Rainer Beach.
PH: Oh yeah. Players that came in after me that made it to the League were Nate Robinson and Terrence Williams. Doug Christie played there, and when I was a freshman, Jason Terry was a senior at Franklin.
SLAM: Any of the guys clown you for ditching basketball for bodybuilding?
PH: Guys I know like Jamal and Chauncey Billups think it’s cool. Some guys will make fun of a bodybuilder real quick, but then dunk on somebody and flex their biceps. Where do you think they get that from? They get it from us.
SLAM: Who’s your team?
PH: I have season tickets to the Denver Nuggets, but to be honest, I just root for guys I know. No matter where Jamal and Nate play, I’ll be their No. 1 fan. I grew up a Sonics fan; I’m so pissed that we don’t have a team anymore, because Kevin Durant is such a beast.
SLAM: Which NBA players would make great bodybuilders?
PH: I’d say Dwight Howard, Tony Allen and LeBron James because you can see it. But best overall would be Nate Robinson.
SLAM: Do you still play?
PH: Occasionally, but I don’t dunk anymore. Wouldn’t be so smart when I’m carrying 270 pounds.
SLAM: What was it like to win your first Mr. Olympia title?
PH: For me it’s pretty cool because I never thought in a million years I’d be the best bodybuilder in the world when I was growing up, especially playing basketball. But it feels great to know that beyond reasonable doubt I am the best at what I do for a living and not a lot of people can say that. I mean, in basketball, it’s who’s the best point guard or who’s the best player in the NBA. Even when the MVP is still crowned, they still say this guy or that guy is still better. But when you’re Mr. Olympia, there is no one better. There have only been 13 Mr. Olympias in its 47-year span and during that same time period there have only been eight presidents so you see how unique that really is. So in a way, I’ve already made it to the bodybuilder Hall of Fame. I’ve already etched my name in history. And I’ve only begun my career; it’s just really getting started.