by Michael Tillery
Washington DC is always a favorite spot. It’s a festive atmosphere regardless of the outcome. Last night, the game itself was competitive but sloppy. The Heat pulled away at the end 94-87 mainly because they have more talent. Wade did his thing with 19 Michaels and 10 Magics. Marion had 12 and 9 Barkleys. Haslem. 12 and 11 Diesels. Chalmers 15 and 6 KJs. Beasley looked his age, but they’ll be other days. Be easy Mike.
On the Wizards, Tough Juice and Antawn Jamison did all the damage. Butler had 21 and 12 boards, while Jamison had 25 and 12. Nick Young started slow and ended up with 12. He looks good in his second year and can finally take a bump and still put the rock in the hole. There were no other Wizards in double figures. At the end, Washington had too many turnovers to win. It’s incredible Washington has only one victory, but with so many players in the training room, what should you expect. At one point, I thought I was back in Philly because of all the boos. Only time the crowd cheered was for this cat who mimics a sprinkler as a dance step and even gives the crowd a double bump pump fake. Dude is funny and well loved by the Verizon Center crowd.
Earl the Pearl was in attendance, as was Serena Williams and all kinds of sugar, spice and everything nice. The women are incredible. They can get mad love from this writer. Trust me when I say this but LaVar Arrington’s wife is ridiculous. I say this all out of respect people but Daaaaaaamn. She’s a chocolate Wonder Woman. Happy Valley aint’ the word.
I wanted to talk to Gilbert (Change We Believe In tattoos on the outside of his fingers), Etan (to see how he is doing) and Caron (Hey, tough is as tough does), but the Wizards got out of there quick. Both teams had 20 minutes to get dressed and get on the road so please be cool with what I get from the Heat, and I’ll get back on my track meet next game when the Clippers visit the Sixers. Baron? Elton?
Now to those quotes…
Shaun Livingston has been through hell and back with the devastating knee injury that almost killed his career. He’s back on the scene with the Heat and seems focused on the get back. Inspiring player. I really hope he makes it because his talent is unbelievable.
SLAM: Shaun you are an inspiration to anybody doing anything. What has getting to this moment been like and have any of your contemporaries who’ve gone through something similar reached out?
SL: Nah, it’s really been something I’ve done on my own. A lot of family…friends…a lot of mental support. My situation is unique. People were definitely lookin’ out. Cats would say you see Penny with his knee?
SLAM: Are you looking at this in different stages of development? How are you approaching this? Short term and long term goals type of situation?
SL: Short and long. I’m trying to push myself to try to get pain free. I’m able to play. Today was a day where it was real sore. Just wasn’t right. It’s up and down, up and down. That’s really where it’s at this year. Gotta pull forward. Long term, I’m just trying to have it so it’s steady so I can play without no pain, limitations or any of that.
SLAM: You obviously are a big hit with us…SLAM Magazine.
SL: That’s where I started.
SLAM: Yes. What is something you want to tell our people who are definitely pulling for you?
SL: Really, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. That’s the simple thing. One of those simple phrases but uh…I started out on top coming in…high in the draft…a lot of this…a lot of that with all the expectations. See, one play can take you right back down. Whatever you are doing, stay on your grind, and maintain focus and you can do it, but it starts with you. Nobody else. Ain’t nobody gotta do the work but me to get back on the court playing. That’s the advice everybody should take.
SLAM: Do you envision yourself being that triple double threat again?
SL: (Speaks before I get out all the words) “Definitely, definitely. It’s a process. It’s not going to be tomorrow. I see that down the road. Working out, day in and day out is what I need to shoot for. Then when I’m back playing I can deal with the player that I was. Even further than that…be…better. Be the player people expect me to be.
So of course I gotta talk to Flash and this other cat is actually comparing Tough Juice and Flash’s hair. I know we all have jobs to do, but damn dude. Fashion boutique, salon type thing much? We only had three minutes. Anthony Gilbert then asks Dwyane about courage and resolve after hearing all the bs people talk as dictated in his latest Converse commercial so I’m like bet! Now we are talking.
SLAM: Flash, this is obviously a very important time in your career. What are you looking to do within the team dynamic?
Dwyane Wade: Man anything I can do to help us win. Tonight was a game where everyone played a decent game. I didn’t have to go out and will a team to victory. They did a great job. Whatever the game calls for, I’m willing to do. I’ve proven over the years I can score points. Sometimes I will. I’ve proven I can do things without the basketball. Now it’s about putting it all together and being a complete player. If I play as a complete player, then that will make my team even better. It wasn’t a certain criticism. It was all of it. Then the Olympics came and I hushed everybody up.
SLAM: As a father, how does all of this relate to what’s on your arm…the wristbands of your sons Zaire and Zion (The names of his sons are also written on the tongue of his new kick the Wade 4 for those who don’t know)?
DW: Just continue to help them grow. They are gonna be the men they are gonna be. They are gonna make their own decisions eventually, but as they grow, you try to instill all the good things you know into them and with what they bring, hopefully it comes out great. So I have two little men that mean the world to me and I want to see20them be raised by the man that I am.
SLAM: Being the amazing player you are, people tend to forget that you are human and go through the same stuff most people go through, you just have a lot of money. You do have a life.
DW: Yeah! A lot of people on the outside do not understand that. We have regular problems as well. Only thing you can do is keep living your life without being bogged down by what people say on the outside. Hopefully one day they will get it and understand they are a regular person just like I am. I just have to deal with it on a national scale. You take the good with the bad.
SLAM: Does that make you more guarded because you have guys—not us—who paint you as something your not.
DW: “Mike it can. It can make you not do a lot of things man and not open yourself at all. Then people won’t like you as much. It kinda makes you want to be to yourself. It sucks! We have one life to live and we have to enjoy it and live our lives no matter what people are gonna do or say. Not a lot of people are granted the life we have. No matter what people say about me, I smile everyday ‘cause I’m blessed.
Mike Beasley played a little under 16 minutes, scored 6 points and pulled down three boards in his first action in DC. He looked a little young, but all should be encouraged by his production so far. Following up on what Kevin Durant said to me the other night, I wanted to know whose class is better. His or his boys.
SLAM: Mike talking to KD the other night he had some chill things to say…
Michael Beasley: Our class is better. They have a good class with Greg Oden and Thaddeus Young, KD, Jeff Green…but we have O.J. Mayo, me, Derrick Rose, Jerryd Bayless. We had more freshman in the draft than they did. We are a little stronger man.
I did a much slept on interview with Branson Wright of the Cleveland Plain Dealer regarding the legend of Dwight Anderson. In the video, Daquan, who grew up blocks from Anderson had a look of amazement when speaking of this cat. I wanted to see if the look was real…
SLAM: From a pro’s perspective, how crazy was the legend of Dwight Anderson?
Daquan Cook: What do you want me to say? Everybody knew about him. Especially me because I grew up in the same neighborhood—not even two minutes from where he stayed at. Growing up, playing in his backyard…not really knowing w ho he was at the time…but as I grew people began telling me it was Dwight Anderson. I saw film, and I couldn’t believe it! He was Michael Jordan, before Michael Jordan. He’s got a better life going now with the Gospel and getting himself together. Every time I see him, we still talk and he helps me with my game.
SLAM: The hops and crazy athleticism…
DC: Hops, quickness, athleticism, inside outside game…He was unbelievable. I mean, you can’t compare anyone to him. I saw many of his highlights from the University of Kentucky. He was unbelievable. You can’t compare nobody to him.
DC: It’s tough right now. Quickness, speed and athletic ability? It’s tough. I mean, I look at LeBron somewhat but he couldn’t shoot as good as Dwight. Dwight could do it all. There are not a lot of players you can put in his class.
Flash and Daquan were clowning Mario Chalmers on his choice of boxers. I won’t go into what he was wearing, but there was some serious comedy going on. The man who broke Memphis’ back with the Manhattan dagger was next up to do a little reminiscing.
SLAM: You know that shot is gonna be shown 50 years after you die right?
MC: Yeah I’ve heard about it.
SLAM: Take us back to that moment.
MC: I got a good look and the shot went in.
SLAM: Be honest, did you know it was going in before you shot it?
MC: Yeah I knew. I knew. As soon as I got the ball in my hands, I knew it was a great shot.
SLAM: Was it one of those plays where it doesn’t matter what look the defense has?
MC: The only way that shot was not going in is if I didn’t take it. That’s how I felt that night, especially if I had the ball in my hands.
SLAM: What did Danny Manning say to you?
MC: He said good shot young fella. I still keep in touch. He gives me words of encouragement before the games and stuff like that. He’s another mentor to me.
SLAM: Transitioning into another sage in your career, how do you separate who you did in college to what you have to do now in the pros?
MC: It’s a whole different level man. We are in the NBA now. I haven’t did nothing here. I’m just a rookie trying to get my name out there like I did in college.
SLAM: What’s this guy over here (Wade) teaching you?
MC: He’s teaching me the game…and how to dun the offense. He’s teaching me those parts of the games so I can be successful.
One last little talk. Big Tigger, who used to host Rap City, waited outside the lounge to speak with Wade. As Flash, Anthony Gilbert, Rick from Converse and I walked by on the way to where Wizards fans meet and greet visiting stars before boarding the bus, I told Wade I’d see him in Philly and hit Tig up on why Rap City went off the air? What?
SLAM: Ayo man…what’s up with the show? No Rap City..City..City?
Big Tigger: Hey after 20 years it was time for them to call it a wrap. I’m happy to have been one of the longest tenured hosts and I’m sorry to see it go.
SLAM: What is that about?
BT: (Sarcastically) You gotta ask somebody who works there.
SLAM: Is it the culture of present Hip Hop that exacerbated the show’s demise?
BT: I think it’s the culture of television. It’s just evolving. The people in charge think that hosts don’t hold their weight anymore. They have a new rap show with two new hosts…so I don’t know.