East Rutherford, N.J.—After 23 years in Los Angeles, having played high school, college and professional ball in the city he grew up in, point guard Jordan Farmar decided it was time for a change, joining the Nets as a free agent on July 11. Having won back-to-back NBA Championships with the Lakers surely made the decision easier.
We recently sat down with Farmar for a wide-ranging interview about how he got here, his coaching aspirations and opening for Obama. It's time to Experience New Nets!
NJNets.com: Your father, Damon Farmar, and your godfather, Eric Davis, both played baseball professionally. How’d you end up in basketball?
Jordan Farmar: I just loved it from the moment I picked it up. I started when I was 4 years old. From the time I began playing the game, I just never put the ball down. I knew from Day One: that’s what I wanted to do.
NJNets.com: Was there anyone that helped guide you in that direction?
Farmar: Not necessarily. I played every sport growing up, and my friends jumped around with me, playing soccer, football, baseball and basketball. I just loved basketball, so if basketball season overlapped with anything else, it would take precedent. I was a basketball player before anything else – I just played other sports.
NJNets.com: When did you realize that professional basketball was a possibility?
Farmar: I was always good, always playing up in age groups. Then, when I got to high school, I played varsity basketball as a freshman. I decided to transfer schools my sophomore year, so I had to sit out my sophomore season. That summer, after missing the whole season and finally getting the chance to play before my junior year, I started to play traveling team ball and doing really well. I had a great junior season and played another session of traveling team ball. I won MVP of a lot of tournaments with guys like Dwight Howard, Sebastian Telfair and J.R. Smith. Those guys were in the tournament, but my team would win the tournament and I’d get MVP.
It started picking up and I started getting offers from every school in the country and knew it was a real possibility (that I’d play in the NBA). Ended up being a McDonald’s All-American and decided to stay home and help rebuild the UCLA program. That worked out pretty well, and it all took off from there.
NJNets.com: How’d UCLA Coach Ben Howland convince you to stay home?
Farmar: My final four was UCLA, Florida, Gonzaga and Arizona. Coach Howland challenged me to do something special for the place where I was from and a program that’s supposed to be great. They had some down years, in recent history, and that was a challenge for myself, Arron Afflalo, Josh Shipp and a couple other guys from L.A. to recharge the program. My sophomore year, we made it to the NCAA Championship. We ended up losing to Florida, where I really wanted to go, but UCLA was too good of a school all the way around, outside of basketball, too pass up. It was a great experience.
NJNets.com: Nice. Now Wikipedia says that New York Giants Pro Bowl wide receiver Steve Smith was one of your high-school teammates.
Farmar: He was my shooting guard junior year, my two-guard. He was four-time All-State in basketball, so he could play. He could really play.
NJNets.com: You surprised he’s found so much success with football?
Farmar: Not at all. We both kind of talked about it during our journey. He went to (Southern California), and I watched him through there. I decided to go to UCLA, but we both kind of followed each other, caught a few games here and there, stayed close. I expected (his success). We were never the main guy who got all the attention – we kind of worked our way to get where we needed to be and finally both got the chance to do some special things. He won a Super Bowl; I won two NBA Championships. It’s been pretty cool for both of us.
NJNets.com: Even though he went to USC? Isn’t that supposed to be a rivalry?
Farmar: Haha. Yeah. Higher education is all good, man. He bettered his life, got to do something he loves. I’m really happy for him.
NJNets.com: Because he helped you win that L.A. City title?
Farmar: Yeap. My senior year, it was the first time a school from the Valley – it’s a little suburb of the city – won an L.A. City Championship in 40 years, since (Hall of Famer) Gail Goodrich
did. It was good to get out there – Valley schools aren’t supposed to be able to compete. It was big, it was special. And that was the start of a lot of good things.
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