Smooth Flight

by June 13, 2008

You’re a size 17, right? Was it hard to find sneakers when you were younger?
It was hard for me before I turned pro. Even in college it was hard to find size 17 kicks. 17, not too many people wear a size 17, so you could go to
the store and get your sneakers. I used to find ways and places that sold 17s. These days Nike does a pretty good job of getting me all the new colors
and fly stuff.

Were sneakers always a big deal to you?
Yeah, I was into kicks pretty heavy when I was younger. One time, I was trying to get some white Air Force 1s, and the people at the store were like, “We only have two size 17s.” So I got to the store at six in the morning and they opened at seven. I need those all-whites in my life, and I sure enough got ’em!

What do you rock now?
Any color Forces, and I’m good to go. And the Air Flight Skool. People love any of the Flights because of its history and what it meant. Everybody wanted any Flights back in the day just because they were dope shoes and that made it even hotter, because once everybody wants it, it doesn’t even have to be great, but that demand makes it special and you wanna be a part of that.

You’ve got some characters on your team. Any funny stories to share?
This might not be that funny to everyone else, but when a seven-foot, one-inch dude by the name of Greg Oden walks into the locker room with a mohawk, I think that had to be the funniest thing of my life. It’s just funny because he stands out because he’s Greg Oden, 7-1. And now he done added a mohawk? I could not stop laughing.

How were your high school playing days?
My coach, Robert Allen, was a huge influence on me. He was really key in my life as far as helping me see what basketball can provide outside of athletics. I don’t think I took basketball serious at all until I started playing for him. I was always tall, so I never really worked hard. I felt like, “I’m tall, they need me,” but he got me out of that. He talked to me and convinced me that if I work hard, I could make this my life.

Did you think you had a real shot at going pro?
I wasn’t really skilled until later because I was always growing into my body. Becoming a pro, doing this for a living, it was a farfetched dream to me back then. I just wanted to go to college and finish school. When I worked at grocery stores and stuff, people used to come in and ask me if I played pro ball. I was just like, “Nah, but hopefully one day!” I had no idea it would be true. It’s amazing. My life now is like night and day. It doesn’t even compare. I’m doing my passion for a living.

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