5 Questions With Coach Carter

Ken Carter made national news when he locked out his undefeated Varsity basketball team in order to push them to improve their grades. Carter not only closed the Richmond (California) High School gym, but he banned all basketball-related activities and was prepared to cancel the entire season program because several players had not lived up to the classroom achievements they had agreed upon in signed contracts.

Monday, Carter came through Atlanta to promote Coach Carter, a new movie (opening in January) based on his life and starring Samuel L. Jackson. During his visit he came by Hawks practice to meet and spend a few minutes talking to the Hawks players. While he was there, Hawks.com had a chance to catch up to him to discuss his thoughts on the movie and the NBA.

Hawks.com: What do you think of the state of the NBA?

Ken Carter: I think the league is fine. Like any business there are problems, but what's important is not the problems themselves, but how you correct them. A lot of people have asked me about the situation with Ron Artest cause of the movie, and I always say, I don't feel sorry for him, I feel sorry for the people he employs. He probably employs several people, and if he loses his ability to earn, so do they, and that is what is sad. But you are talking about accountability and integrity, and he has to be responsible for that.

Hawks.com: What about the way the game is played?

KC: I like the way the game is played. People like to talk about yesteryear, but I think the league is exciting as ever. The NBA does a great job building up its new stars.

Hawks.com: Do you disagree with the way high school players have gone straight to the NBA?

KC: Not at all. Today's players are developing so much more quickly than they used to. And really, guys have been coming into the league out of high school for thirty years now. Moses Malone, George McGinnis, guys like that were doing it back in the day as well, its just more of them are out there now. Teams wouldn't invest in these kids if they couldn't play.

Hawks.com: What is your favorite sports movie?

KC: I'd have to say Coach Carter! This movie was a community project and a school project. All of the kids from the lockout year (the year featured in the movie) are in the movie as well as their mothers. We made it a collective effort and a community project, even though it's a feature film.

Hawks.com: If they were to make a movie about the life of Samuel L. Jackson, could you play him?

KC: (laughing) I think so. Our personalities are very similar. When they discussed with me making this movie, they asked me if there was anyone in a perfect world who I would like to portray me, and the name I wrote down was his.

Micah Hart is the Assistant Web Editor for the Atlanta Hawks