NBA Superlatives: Morris Peterson

By: Jim Eichenhofer,
Friday, November 2, 2007

If you haven’t gotten a chance to see it yet and are looking for an interesting read on tonight's opponent, go to the homepage and read our “Rival Report.” Trail Blazers play-by-play guy Mike Barrett provides an in-depth look at the current state of the team, including a few personal anecdotes about injured No. 1 pick Greg Oden.

I was checking out Barrett’s blog on earlier, and the consensus from Blazers fans seems to be that they were impressed by the way the Hornets played Wednesday, but they also feel their team is better than the Kings (especially when Sacramento doesn’t have Mike Bibby and Ron Artest). It will be interesting to see how New Orleans follows up its impressive Opening Night performance against what is the NBA’s youngest team.

On Wednesday, we chatted with Hornets reserve Ryan Bowen about his career in the first 2007-08 edition of NBA Superlatives. Today we tracked down the team’s biggest free-agent acquisition, shooting guard Morris Peterson.

The 6-foot-7 veteran is one of the most beloved players in Toronto Raptors franchise history. When the Hornets signed him in July, I received an avalanche of e-mails from Raptors fans who wanted to thank him for everything he did on and off the court during his seven seasons in Canada. I can’t imagine that type of response to a player’s departure is very common around the league.

More from Mo Pete:
After seven seasons as a member of the Toronto Raptors, swingman Morris Peterson signed a free-agent contract in the summer of 2007 with New Orleans. Peterson sat down with to discuss some of the highlights of his professional career:

Most memorable moments in the NBA: “Being named All-Rookie NBA first team (in 2000-01) and being in the Eastern Conference semifinals of the playoffs that year with Toronto. There is nothing like the atmosphere of a playoff game. I started Game 6 against Philadelphia, and I remember being excited, but also nervous. I went out and had one of my best games (Peterson scored 17 points), to help take us to a Game 7.”

Most memorable dunks in the NBA: “Last season in the playoffs against New Jersey, one of my teammates shot an airball and I caught it in the air. Jason Kidd was about to swipe the ball away from me, but I just jumped up and threw it down backwards. The game was in New Jersey, and the crowd got very quiet because they were shocked.
“Another time we were playing in Minnesota, and I ‘posterized’ (then-Timberwolves center) Rasho Nesterovic. Rasho was my teammate last season in Toronto, and he’d always joke with me about how I embarrassed him with that one.” [laughs]

Most embarrassing moment in the NBA: “One time (Chicago guard) Ben Gordon did a crossover dribble on me, but he (accidentally) stepped on my foot as he did it, so I fell down. But I’ve seen the video of it on YouTube, and when you watch it, you can’t tell that he stepped on my foot, so it looks like he really crossed me over. I had to hear about that play from my friends. [grins] That’s still an ongoing conversation.”

Toughest player to face at his position: Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant.

Most underrated player in the NBA: Golden State guard-forward Stephen Jackson.

Favorite road arena: Sacramento. “Partly because it’s a warm gym. It’s important to me to get my body warm before games.”

Favorite road trip, based on the city: New York. “I love the city and the food.”

Best trash-talker in the NBA: Boston forward Kevin Garnett.

Change he’d make if he were NBA commissioner: “I wouldn’t change anything. It’s a privilege to play in the NBA. And I wouldn’t change the ball, either. I love the leather one.”