CHATTING WITH CAMBY
Posted Mar 26 2007 10:34AM
NBA TV anchor Andre Aldridge, a California boy who enjoys a good laugh just as much as a backdoor cut, caught up with Denver's man-in-the-middle, Marcus Camby, to talk about fishing, bowling and becoming a principal one day in this week's "Lunch With Andre."
"Lunch With Andre" is a chance for the fans to catch a glimpse of NBA players outside of the 94x50 confines and hear what they have to say about their life away from basketball.
Andre: I want you to give me three shot-blockers. First, who is the best shot-blocker in the league right now, other than yourself?
Marcus: Other than myself Iíd probably say Ben Wallace. Heís a guy who is like 6-7, 6-8 actually and he covers a lot of ground and he can really jump.
Andre: OK, letís go old school. Your best shot-blocker of all-time?
Marcus: Patrick Ewing, (Laughing) and not just because heís a former teammate of mine. Iíve seen him block many a shot.
Andre: OK, so if you had played with Bill Russell, Bill might be in, but you had to give Patrick the love.
Marcus: Yeah, Patrick is my guy, my teammate. I love Patrick.
Andre: : Final shot-blocking question: I want you to give me an instance of when someone small blocked one of your teammates shots in a game and you knew you couldnít laugh at the time, but later on you were like, ďDang.Ē Maybe like when Spud Webb blocked Patrick before you got into the leagueÖ
Marcus: Well, I havenít seen any on my team, but that Nate Robinson on Yao Ming was ooooooooooh, it was something. I keep seeing the highlights on that so that was definitely remarkable.
Andre: I was sitting baseline for that. I was at that game and I thought that it might have been a little foul involved, but the fact that he got up, it was stunning.
Marcus: Yeah, Iíd like to see a poster or a picture of that one.
All right, back in 1996 you were the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft. So think back to that very day. Did you have visions of Marcus Camby playing for 10 years in the league back then?
Marcus: No, not at all. I didnít really picture that happening. Itís always a dream come true to be drafted and for me to last for as long as I have after that has been a blessing in itself. Normally, the average NBA player plays like 3-4-5 years and I surpassed and doubled that so Iím definitely thankful.
Andre: You went second in that draft, and the guy who went first, Allen Iverson, is now your teammate. Isnít that a little strange since you both can still play?
Marcus: (Laughing) Itís ironic. We still talk about it to this day about how he was one and I was two. I always joke with him about how the year that we came out, his last college game was against me. I always joke about how I ended his college career when we played Georgetown in the Elite Eight. So, itís definitely ironic.
Andre: Do you remember the numbers in that game for you and him?
Marcus: For him? I think he had like 20-something, I think I had like 20-something, but we won by like 20, soÖ
Andre: : Right. Yíall put it down on them. Iíll tell you what Marcus, the first round of that í96 draft is still holding it down: you, A.I., Ray Allen, Steve Nash, President Derek Fisher, Jermaine OíNeal, Stephon and of course Kobe. As a group, are you guys still aware of that connection when you meet as competitors?
Andre: Very strong. I even left out Dampier and Reggie Geary, in the second round, and heís coaching in the D-League now. Just some very interesting names to come out in í96.
Marcus: Yeah, definitely a deep draft.
Andre: For you personally, Iíve always been impressed with the pride that you have for your hometown of Hartford, Connecticut. You know, Iíve never been shy in telling you that I didnít love living there the few years that I did, but thatís not where Iím from. So, why have you always pumped up Hartford?
Marcus: There are only very few of us that came out of that town and made it big Ö myself, Rick Mahorn and Mike Adams, you know, who I grew up with, we went to the same high school. A lot of people donít never give Connecticut its props. I know itís a small state, but a lot of people donít even know it borders New York. (Laughing) Iíll be telling them Iím from Connecticut sometimes and theyíll be like, ďWho? Whoís from there?Ē But, over the years I just to try to make sure that is what I represent.
Andre: I think back to when I was in Southern Cal and I told somebody, ďYou know Eriq LaSalle is from Southern Hartford.Ē And he was like, ďNo heís not. Heís from here.Ē No heís not, heís from Hartford, man. People think Ray Allen is from Connecticut too, but heís a South Carolina boy.
Marcus: Yeah, I tell him, ďJust because you went to UConn, doesnít mean youíre from Hartford.Ē Itís a big difference. (Laughing)
Andre: (Laughing) I love that. Now Marcus, I know your mother raised you and she played the dual role of mother and father and I know sheís your biggest hero right now, but, did you feel that way when you were younger?
Marcus: I always felt that way. The way she raised me and my two sisters basically by herself, you know, I was a latchkey kid so I used to always have to come home from school and wait for my sisters to get home and then take care of them and make sure they did their work before my mom came home from work. She always stayed on us. She always stayed on us to do our work and I think thatís one of the reasons why I became an education major. She was so valuable and so instrumental in the youth in our community that I wanted to pattern myself a little bit after her.
Andre: And youíve been so big in the community whether you want to talk Toronto, New York or Denver so all of that stems from her?
Marcus: All of that stems from her. Itís all about giving back and as athletes weíve been blessed with so much with the fame and monetary stuff like that, that I think itís our job to give back to the community and itís something I like doing. The stuff that I do, I donít really want newspapers or the radio following me because it comes from the heart and I donít really want to be glorified for stuff like that because I just feel like thatís part of our job description.
Andre: Very strong. Hey, I also know you want to be or plan to be a principal once you get done playing. So, how do you bypass the teacher part? You just want to be the principal?
Andre: Hey, what was the worst part about growing up in a home with very little money and physically growing as much as you were growing?
Marcus: I mean, it definitely was tough. When I was in high school, I entered at 6-foot and by the time I left I was 6-11, so it was definitely tough. The income wasnít definitely there and I was definitely growing out of clothes. It was hard to find clothes for somebody my size in the inner-city. So, it was a big struggle but I had to manage. We all had to scrape up with what we really had, but you know, my story is just probably the same as every other NBA player whoís come from the inner-city so itís not that much different.
Andre: I understand that, but at least if youíre my size, or Ray Allenís size, or a guardís size, you know, with family, friends and neighbors, you can work some deals out. But when youíre your size, there wasnít much trading going on, was there? (Laughing)
Marcus: No, there was no trading going on. (Laughing) There was no pass-downs coming down from my cousins or anything. (Laughing)
Andre: Hey, Iím a big golf nut. If you look in the PGA Tour Media Guide, 90 percent of the professional golfers list fishing as one of their hobbies. Obviously that isnít the case in the NBA, however if you look at your bio, one of your hobbies is fishing. Whatís up with that?
Marcus: Me and my wife, we live in Houston and we have a 10-acre lake. We stock the lake with bass, catfish and trout and itís just something I like doing to kill a lot of time. I just go in the backyard, cast a couple reels and just catch and release. Itís definitely very relaxing with a house full of women with my wife and my daughter, so, it gives me a chance to get out and get some sun.
Andre: Hey, you do the catch and release, my late father used to fish a lot on the weekends, mostly for catfish. Heíd come back home with catfish as big as some of the little dogs in our neighborhood. You do the catch and release, but I want to tell you, them bad boys was good eatiní.
Marcus: (Laughing) Now every now and then I may throw one on the grill.
Andre: Now, if you could take two people from history out to your lake for an afternoon of fishing and talking, who would it be? And it can be somebody whoís dead or living.
Marcus: Itíd probably be Dr. King and Dr. J.
Andre: All right, all right, that would be a nice afternoon. You know, itís interesting, Iíve had the good fortune in meeting Julius and becoming a friend of his and I feel like Dr. King has been such a positive part of all of our lives. Itís just great to hear that he means so much because I think people look at what you guys do as pro athletes and everybody gets blinded a little bit by the money or what they think you guys do and itís just refreshing to hear and know that.
Marcus: Dr. King was definitely influential and everything we do now, itís because of him that we have that freedom right now. Dr. J, is also a good friend of mine Ė a fellow UMass alum. We speak frequently and Iíve got to develop a good relationship with him and heís a good person.
Andre: You mention UMass, and it would not be fair if I did not mention your old coach, John Calipari, who we obviously both know very well. He has helped me on occasions when Iíve had things be tough or been in trouble, so, how big was Coach Cal for you?
Marcus: He was definitely instrumental in my basketball career. He gave me the scholarship. He gave me the platform and the freedom to go out there and play on a national level and earn and garnish all the accolades that I received while playing at UMass. Even to this day, we go down there to play the Grizzlies, heís always sitting courtside. He always comes into the locker room to talk to me and when I go down there we always have dinner. So, thatís a friendship and a relationship that Iím going to treasure for the rest of my life.
Andre: Very nice. Hey, you know on TNT, Kenny Smith sends everyone fishing when theyíre eliminated from the playoffs and he played for Houston where you live, so, would you let him come on your lake with you? (Laughing)
Marcus: (Laughing) I definitely would let Kenny come out there and come fishing with me.
Andre: Now I also hear that you enjoy bowling. Is that true?
Marcus: Yeah, we love to go bowling. Itís something I enjoy doing. Actually, I have a bowling alley in my house so itís something I like to spend a lot of time doing and kill a lot of time. A lot of guys on our team also think they can bowl so we have a lot of battles.
Andre: Think they can bowl Ö
Marcus: Carmelo thinks he can bowl, A.I. thinks he can bowl and DerMarr Johnson is a pretty good bowler. So those guys can bowl a little bit, but I think Iím the top dog around here.
Andre: Wow. Whatís the best game you ever bowled?
Marcus: I bowled like a 228 one time. That was like my career high.
Marcus: (Laughing) That was just like a good day for me. I donít usually play like that.
Andre: Now Marcus, you play with Carmelo Anthony, but deep down you want to be Earl Anthony. You want to be the greatest bowler of all time.
Marcus: : I want to do it all Ö bowl, fish, basketball Ö I want to do it all.
Andre: OK, final thing for you. Letís do a word association. I give you a word and you give me the first thing that pops in your mind, OK?
Marcus: All right.
Marcus: Umm, wow. Thatís all Iím going to say about that. (Laughing)
Andre: (Laughing) Thatís a tough one on a married brother man.
Andre: And ball hog.
Marcus: Umm, wow.
Andre: OK, all right. Everybody does a slow one on that one too.
Previous to joining NBA TV, Andre Aldridge hosted and anchored numerous programs for CNNís Sports Division from 1999-2002, including ďThis Week in the NBA,Ē ďSports Tonight,Ē ďCloser Look,Ē and ďSI Cover to Cover.Ē During his tenure at CNN, he also reported live from NFL Super Bowls, covered major boxing title fights, and reported from several Major League Baseball games.