You watch the games, you see the scores, but how do you really know what's going on in the NBA Playoffs 2003? NBA.com has infiltrated the action with the ultimate insiders -- the players themselves. We're giving you an exclusive look at the postseason with a roster of player mailboxes.
Desmond Mason has made a big difference in Milwaukee's run to the playoffs since coming to the Bucks on a trade deadline day deal.
Desmond answered your first round of questions on Thursday, April 24:
Q: If you had to pick a player, past or present, that you have modeled your game after, who would it be? Also, is there a particular player in the NBA that you have a rivalry with? Who and why?
Mason: The player I model my game after, itís kind of ironic, but Ray Allen was one of my favorite players, just the way he plays the game. Heís so smooth, and just the way he keeps his composure. Also, Allan Houston is one of the players I really admire.
I really donít have a particular player that I have a rivalry with in the NBA. There are a lot of great players that I have the opportunity to guard. I take it as a personal challenge -- Kobe, Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady -- a lot of those guys, but I really donít have a rival.
Q: Do you have any ritual you do or paticular music you listen to before a big game that pumps you up?
--Crystal (Brown Deer, Wis.)
Mason: I listen to music a lot before the games. Right now, what Iím listening to, thatís kind of in right now, that gets me pumped up a little bit, is 50 Cent. His CD is fairly new; itís just fast music, intense. I do listen to music before games; just about every game.
Q: What do you guys plan to do to show the Nets that this series won't be as easy as it was in game 1?
Mason: In Game 1, what we wanted to do is come out and start off being very intense and very aggressive on both ends of the floor, but those guys jumped on us early and they came out a little more aggressive than we did. In Game 2, I think we executed our game plan to a tee, being aggressive on offensive, being intense and physical on defense. We played basketball for 48 minutes and thatís what we needed to do to get a win in New Jersey. Now we need to continue to do that throughout the course of the playoffs.
Q: First of all I would like to wish you the best of luck in the rest of your series against the Nets. My question: Which teammate have you become best friends with since joining the Bucks?
Mason: Iíve become good friends with every player on our team. We all have a really good chemistry when it comes to friendship. But the guys that I would say that I hang out with the most, or talk to the most, one is Toni Kukoc. Heís a guy that I had the opportunity to learn from and become good friends with. Also, Michael Redd. We knew each other from college. Heís just a great guy, a guy thatís easy to be around. Those are the two guys Iíve been drawn to more, but Iíve become good friends with everyone on this team.
Q: How does the Bucks' organization compare with Seattle? And do you think Gary will stay and play with the Bucks next year?
--Matt (Chilton, Wis.)
Mason: First of all, I would hope that Gary would be around to play with us next year. Obviously Gary is a great player and I guy that Iíve learned from for three years now, and when Iím older I can tell my kids I had the opportunity to play with one of the greatest guards ever to play basketball. Heís a great friend, and itís been a joy for me being around him, so I would hope that heíd be here next year.
From an organization standpoint, both organizations are great. If you want to compare, I think in Milwaukee things are a little more easygoing, laid-back, a really nice atmosphere, people will come around and chit-chat. In Seattle, Howard was the guy you saw all the time, but heís a great guy, and itís a great organization. Itís tough to compare the two, but theyíre two organizations Iíve become attached to.
Q: Hey Desmond! I saw your new shoes and they look off the hook. Do you feel like at home at Milwaukee or is your heart still with Seattle?
--Artem (Auburn, Wash.)
Mason: First of all, thanks for the compliment on the shoes. And1 does a good job with their shoes and keeping up with the styles.
Right now, my heart is where I play basketball. Itís my job, itís what I love to do. Iím really starting to become attached to Milwaukee and the fans. Iím meeting a lot of really nice people, down-to-earth people. Obviously thereís a place in my heart for Seattle, because I started my career there and played two-and-a-half years there. Right now, though, Milwaukee is my home, my workplace. Iím still finding my way around, but Iím loving being here.
Q: Which is more exciting, to play in the NCAA tournament or the NBA Playoffs?
--Keaton (Chickasha, Okla.)
Mason: Thatís kind of tough. When I was at Oklahoma State, I had the opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament three years in a row. Itís an awesome atmosphere, a lot of competitiveness; itís really exciting, really energetic. The NBA Playoffs, itís a dream just to make it to the NBA, but to make it to the playoffs, and have the opportunity to contribute to your team, thatís a blessing. If I had to choose between the two, Iíd have to say the playoffs from the standpoint that itís a dream Iíve always had, and now to have an opportunity to live that dream is a little more exciting for me, but the NCAA tournament is not far behind.