USA Basketball Mailbox
Posted Aug 18 2003 1:58PM
Members of Team USA respond to your questions
NBA.com asked you to e-mail us your questions for Team USA while they were practicing in New York last week. Here's what some of the guys had to say about the importance of the Olympic qualifying tournament in Puerto Rico, tough defensive assignments, new teammates and dunking on seven-footers. (Note: Click on any of the headshots to go to that player's page.)
Mike BibbyQ: Mike, you are my favorite player. Who is the hardest man for you to guard?
-- Matt (San Pedro, Calif.)
Bibby: "Everybody asks me that. I can't give that up. If I give it up, they're going to have an advantage against me when we'd play. I'd rather not say. (All I'll say is that) he's in the Western Conference and he's a guard."
Elton BrandQ: Hey, Elton. How aggressive will you guys be in this tournament and next summer after the disappointment of the World Championships last summer?
-- Moose (Toronto)
Brand: "We're going to try to send a message: play hard, play well, play together ... And win by a large margin. Defense is the main thing Coach Brown is teaching us this year and we're working on it. I think our defensive game is top-notch and we're going to be in the passing lanes and just going."
Vince CarterQ: Well, I just wanted to say good luck to all of you and especially my man, Vince! Yo, Vince, are you gonna posterize another seven-footer?
-- JV (Wesley Chapel, Fla.)
Carter: "That (dunk on France's Frederic Weis in the 2000 Olympics) is something I can't plan, I didn't plan, I won't plan and never will plan. It's something that happens off of instinct, really. After the game, when I saw it on tape, that's when I knew exactly what I did. But, during the game, the whole time, my buddy Kevin Garnett, Gary Payton and even J-Kidd, were all like: 'Did you know what you did?' I had no clue. After the game was over, I saw it on a little hand-held camera. I've never ever, ever seen or done that in my life."
Q: Hi, Vince. Do you still have contact with Serge Zwikker?
Carter: "Only when he comes back to North Carolina. He's a retired guy now, he has his family. I don't see him as much but when I go to Carolina, I talk to him."
Nick CollisonQ: Nick, you have made a big jump as a rookie to be a member of the USA team. What's it like?
-- James (Los Angeles)
Collison: "It helps a lot. I'm taking my lumps and learning quite a bit. Just getting used to the length of the guys, their size, their athleticism. It's going to help me a lot when the season rolls around because I'll already have played against them once. I'll be able to just play and not have to feel out the competition level. The length of the guys has been most surprising. When you come in the lane to finish strong, you have to do it very quickly or be crafty about it because you just can't glide through and lay the ball in like you did in college."
Allen IversonQ: A.I., what do you think of the Sixers' offseason moves?
-- Kev (Philadelphia)
Iverson: "I think our general manager and our coach did a great job. I think they made the team 100 percent better. I'm just looking forward to (this season). I don't think they could have did any better than they did in the offseason. They excited me and I'm excited to get back to training camp and get everything started. I feel like I have a rejuvenated career with the moves that they made. It's just an exciting time right now."
Jason KiddQ: Hey, Jason, who will be your toughest competition at the tournament this year?
-- Giedrius (Burlington, Conn.)
Kidd: "Argentina will be one of the toughest. Puerto Rico, Canada ... there are some quality teams. We got to play together as a team and play hard and don't take anybody lightly because you can be beaten on any given day."
Tracy McGradyQ: How has this experience been and how is practice different between Team USA and Orlando?
-- Miro (Bound Brook, N.J.)
McGrady: "It's different because you have the best players in the league here. You're not going to get your way all the time. In your own (team) practice, you dominate more. There is a lot more competition here. This practice is more important now because we're fighting to get something back: the gold medal. We don't want to let our country down."
Jermaine O'NealQ: What are you going to do differently than last year?
-- Ken (Houston)
O'Neal: "Mostly, don't take anyone for granted. This team is very focused. The difference between this year and last year is like night and day. Coach Brown has been hard on this team. Last year the conditioning wasn't anything like this. Our staff has us playing hard, and that allows you to play better in all areas. As long as we play together, we'll be fine."