Asia Challenge Interviews: Lanny Smith and Derrick Dial
NBA Generations members Lanny Smith and Derrick Dial took time out from their trip to the 2009 Asia Challenge to answer some questions for NBA D-League.com. The NBA Generations team is 1-1 after playing two games in Korea, and will close out the Asia Challenge when they play a game in the Phillipines on Saturday.
Lanny Smith, Idaho Stampede
Q: Can you talk about the exposure the NBA D-League provides, specifically in front of NBA scouts and now on the international stage here at the Asia Challenge?
Lanny: "Well, coming out of college, I was coming off an injury--I broke my foot my senior year--and the NBA D-League helped me get my name back out there and get back on the radar. Itís a great opportunity for guys with that NBA dream--to be able to play in front of NBA scouts and coaches. Last year was my first year, and I didnít even know about the NBA D-League Showcase. That was definitely a big thing for me, playing in front of several representatives from NBA teams. It was a great experience, and then to have the opportunity that I have right now, traveling as a part of the Asia Challenge, itís an awesome experience. Itís got the NBA name behind it. I canít put everything into words because playing with these NBA Legends is amazing."
Q: What kind of experience did you have at the Asia Challenge Opening Ceremony?
Lanny: It was great from the moment we stepped off the plane. The fans and the people were great, the cameras were flashing everywhere, and it was definitely a new experience for me. The people everywhere have been wonderful, very nice, and every place we go people are speaking to us, they want autographs and pictures, and theyíre happy to have us here in their country. Itís beautiful. The interaction between the people and us is great, and Iíve been surprised and impressed by their knowledge of the game and the players. It just goes to show how global the NBA has become, and these people love it.
Q: Whatís it been like to practice and play with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dominique Wilkins, Tim Hardaway, and Robert Horry?
Lanny: "Itís been great. I was talking a few days ago with Robert Horry. Iím from Houston, and when I was about 10 years old and he was on the Rockets, I was playing for the Houston Rockets kids teams. We use to perform at halftime and between timeouts, and it was amazing being near the Rockets as a 10 year old. Now all these years later, itís amazing being able to be on the same team as him. All the guys have been great, and have given us lots of advice and itís been fun watching them play. Before the games they talk about how old they are and how they donít think they can make it more than a couple minutes, but then once they get out there, the competitive juices start flowing, and they still play like they did in the NBA and as hard as they can. Robert Horry dove for a ball at half court, and if NBA Legends are doing things like that, it shows us NBA D-League guys who are still trying to make it that we always have to give it 110 percent and bring our ďAĒ game."
Q: How do you think youíd fare against the NBA Legends in their prime?
Lanny: "Well, Dominique Wilkins is still dunking, and heís 49, so I donít want to think about going against him in his prime. Tim Hardaway broke out the crossover a couple of times, and it may not be as fast as it was, but itís still good. As the competitor that I am, thereís no way I would back down, but to have that experience would be great."
Q: What valuable knowledge and experience you have gained on this trip? How will it help you next season in the NBA D-League?
Lanny: "Some of the advice that the older guys gave us--they were telling me that they like my skills, size, and talent for my position. They told me they felt that for someone like me, itís not a question of talent or ability--they feel like I could play at the NBA level. Itís just a matter of getting that chance and being in the right place at the right time. To hear that from guys who have had so much success at the NBA level really gave me a lot of confidence. They told me to just keep my head up and keep working hard, and that way when the opportunity presents itself, Iíll be able to take advantage of it."
Derrick Dial, Tulsa 66ers
Q: What kind of experience have you had playing with the NBA Legends?
Derrick: "Itís a great experience to play with and learn from these NBA Legends. These are walking legends. Youíve got Hall of Fame players on your team--Tim Hardaway has shown us how to be more effective, Dominique Wilkins is showing us different ways to score the ball, and Kareem has so much knowledge from playing 20 seasons. Just yesterday sitting and talking with Kareem, itís such a big difference being able to talk with them personally. Theyíre great basketball players, yes, but also great, well-rounded people."
Q: Has anything in Korea or the Philippines surprised or impressed you?
Derrick: The people are so polite and friendly, and nice and well-prepared. The events have gone smoothly, and a lot of effort has gone into treating us so well. Itís been so great.
Q: Whatís been the most exciting part of the trip so far?
Derrick: Itís hard to say one thing, but the actual games and practices alongside the legends are so amazing. No matter how old they get, they are still competitive and still want to win. It doesnít matter what level.
Q: Can you talk about the gameís growth internationally and how itís impacted your career?
Derrick: Youíve got so many people at basketball courts. In the Philippines, people are playing barefoot. The game has just taken on a new, global look and itís great for everybody involved. Itís great to see everybodyís influences on the game, because they not only take a style from the game, but they add to it as well.