Europe Live 2008 - An Interview with Washington Wizards
Posted Mar 27 2008 1:26PM
An Interview With Washington Wizards’: COACH EDDIE JORDAN & GILBERT ARENAS
COACH JORDAN: Good afternoon. We are very excited about the opportunity to play the New Orleans Hornets in the preseason, and in the 2008‑2009 season. We think it's going to be a great experience for our team and our franchise on the floor, as well as off the floor. We're really looking forward to bringing really exciting basketball to the preseason to Berlin and to Barcelona.
So on that note, I would like to hand it over to Gilbert.
GILBERT ARENAS: I think it's going to be a great opportunity, you know, for two young upcoming teams in the NBA to go out of the country to Berlin and Barcelona to show off their skills and their talent.
When you're growing up, you never think you'll experience something like this, you know, playing out of the country on an NBA team and I think it's going to be great for both teams and both franchises.
Q. I have a question for Gilbert. Since you've been out the whole season with an injury, do you have anything special planned for your fans in your open, like during the All‑Star Game when you did the thing with the trampoline?
GILBERT ARENAS: Just play hard. I know there's not going to be any trampolines for me to jump off of. Just make sure that I'm healthy enough to attend that game.
Q. Will you have any opportunity to travel around during your trip; is there anything you're looking forward to?
GILBERT ARENAS: I'm just exploring. I know it's business, but it also is a chance for me to view other parts of the world. So I'm going to take some time out to go actually explore both cities.
Q. You are a very special player with very individual behavior on and off the court. Do you have any regrets what you have done in the past, what you have done or said or wrote in your blog?
GILBERT ARENAS: You know, you can't have regrets. At the end of the day, it's entertainment, so maybe that's changed somewhat either way. You just try not to go overboard. You know, especially when you're teammates, because those are the guys you have to see every day. I try not to kill my teammates in my blog and try and make it as funny as possible.
Q. There's been a lot of talk about international expansion, European expansion. Given the cultural and travel problems that would involve, what would a player's take on that prospect be?
COACH JORDAN: You know, that's actually the only problem that the players are concerned with, you know, traveling. We hate traveling from East to West, and that's six or seven hours.
So we can't imagine flying ten, 12, 13 hours to go play a basketball game. That's something they are going to have to show to us that, hey, the first team that actually happens, we'll see what happens. But until then, that's our biggest concern, that time flight that we'll be taking.
Q. Hypothetically, in a couple of years time, if you were traded to a team in London or Berlin or coming out of college, if you were drafted to a team in Rome or Madrid, what would your response be having to make your living over in Europe?
GILBERT ARENAS: You know, it depends what kind of hindsight you have. You have to have hindsight, where you're going to a city where they are going to have a new team where you become a mega-superstar over there. I look at it like soccer, those are the countries with the biggest fans.
So you have going over there and embrace the life and embrace the team you're playing for.
Q. How difficult or easy is it to work with an outgoing personality like Gilbert?
COACH JORDAN: First of all, Gilbert is a great, great young man. He does a lot for our community. He does a lot for the NBA community. He's a terrific family man. He's got two children that he really adores. He's very easy to coach. He loves to compete. He's one of our best competitors.
He's a terrific player that makes his teammates better and as a coach, that's beyond ‑‑ above and beyond the call of duty. He can score with the best of them, and I've seen him score probably as easy as anybody in the history of the NBA can score, and certainly he runs the offense. He can be anything he wants to be on the basketball floor.
In his own way, he's a leader. He might not think so, but he's a leader by example. He certainly keeps the locker room loose, maybe too loose, but that will come as he gets older in the NBA. But certainly he's a coach's dream, and he's an NBA's dream because he's very entertaining, but he certainly makes his teammates better and helps your team win.
Q. Do you have a favorite story about Gilbert?
COACH JORDAN: Well, we don't have time to tell a story, even one story would be long winded for Gilbert. Gilbert, I can't think of one in particular, but he certainly keeps the locker room loose. He likes to take the young guys and sort of abuses them in different ways. But every year, he picks one guy out, whether it was Andray Blatche or Nick Young, picks on them all year long, and he's terrific to have in the locker room. He's a coach's dream.
Q. Heading into these playoffs, everybody seems to think it's a two‑horse race between Detroit and Boston; what's your response to that? Maybe disrespect is too strong a word but what your analysis would be? And as a follow‑up to that, a question about really whether you foresee wholesale changes by the time you're in Europe in October, or will it be a similar group of players to the ones we are looking at right now?
COACH JORDAN: I think from a fan standpoint and media standpoint, you have to look at the two favorite teams because what they have done, their whole body of work through 82 games. They have certainly been dominating. They have shown that they are going to compete for a world championship.
But as far as our team, we look at it as a challenge. We look at ourselves as a competitor and contender for the Eastern Conference Championship. You know, it makes you work harder. It makes you do the things well that you know is good for your team.
You know, there's no motivation needed from a coach or from even your teammates. The motivation is there that these are dominating teams that you've really got to get ready for.
Going into next year, we don't think we are going to see a lot of wholesale changes. We have got eight guys under contract, and those are our top eight guys outside of Gilbert. We know that we are going to sign Gilbert back and Antawn Jamison back, and they are high priorities for us.
So we don't look at wholesale changes in our roster. We have got young guys, three rookies on the team: A young guy in Andray Blatche, DeShawn Stevenson just signed this summer. Andray Blatche just signed this summer. Our rookies are under contract, and Gilbert and Antawn Jamison love it here. We have a great relationship, and we knew we were the best team in the Eastern Conference when we were all healthy. We anticipate signing our two priority guys and going into Barcelona and Berlin with mostly, at least not eight to nine guys intact on our roster.
Q. Gilbert, you mentioned that you could change the team and your contract expire this is summer; is this still an option for you?
GILBERT ARENAS: You know, at the end of the day, I reason I did he sighed to do that, I became what we call in the league a match player, with six years of my deal, and I had an option in my contract which players use. I guess since I have a blog, and it heightens the option of my decision. You know, it wasn't I didn't opt to leave; I was opting out to sign back to sign a deal is the only thing about it, just went overboard with it.
Q. Perhaps you heard about the decision of the Dallas Mavericks to lockout bloggers - -
GILBERT ARENAS: Bloggers from their team?
Q. - - and the arena so that no blogger can get a credential.
GILBERT ARENAS: This is the NBA and they have to move up with the times. Bloggers are just like media. Players blogging is just like a way of talking to the media. You just have a broader people that you are going to. That's a decision they made and you just have to deal with I guess.
Q. I have another question for Gilbert, there was this YouTube clip with you and DeShawn Stevenson, will we see this in the few you're or how did the YouTube clip even get to the Internet?
GILBERT ARENAS: That was random. We were trying to figure out who were the best shooters on our team, so it started with Roger Mason, thinking he can beat me at college 3s.
So we were in Boston and there's a gym besides the hotel we were at. So everyone is betting on Roger because they say I'm an NBA shooter, not a college three‑point shooter. So everyone said, okay, we're going with Roger.
So me and Roger went to the gym and we shot a hundred 3s. He ended up making 80. I stopped at 81 and walked off the floor, and I think I had two more spots left and I just walked off. So all the players were mad. They were talking trash like: "You guys can't beat me, I'm a shooter."
So I told DeShawn: "If you want to beat me the way Roger did, I'm going to beat you with my one hand."
So DeShawn was like: "One hand, I would never be embarrassed by one hand."
All right, one hand it is.
So at first he didn't want to do it. We went through two cities; no, no, won't do it. And there was nothing about no filming.
So we decided to go to where after practice one day, he was saying, you can't beat nobody with one happened. It happened to be right after practice and all of the media comes in, so once they seen me shooting one happened, so I guess they started filming, and that's how it went online. (Laughing)
Q. People would accept now that European players are of a high standard and well established in the NBA, are you surprised how many international players are making an impact? When the trend first started, were you skeptical? Did you ever doubt they would have an impact?
COACH JORDAN: No, we ever never doubted that. We have seen the growth of young European players and international players, and whether it was Tony Kukoc or even going as far as even before that, we saw the development of especially big, big players because they were skilled and guard skilled. They could dribble, pass, shoot perimeter shots, 3‑pointers, but certainly they were great passers. They could dribble and to bring that sort of extra dimension on the floor, with big people, changed our game in the NBA and you see more of that. You see players 6‑8, 6‑9 or taller having skills as guards, and that's why the NBA has gone to more skilled, finesse game as opposed to a physical, athletic game that we saw in the early 80s, and mid 80s.
So it's been good for the league. We are aware that it's a global game, and we don't look at it as international players, as opposed to American players. We look at it as world players that are very good basketball players in the NBA.