Suns News

Chapman Chats

SUNS GUARD REX CHAPMAN recently invited Fastbreak magazine into his family's home for a few pictures and a few questions.

Fastbreak: Your father Wayne played several seasons in the American Basketball Association for the Kentucky Colonels, Indiana Pacers and the Denver Rockets. What do your remember about his playing days?

The ChapmansThe Chapman family (l to r) Caley, Bridgete, Zeke and Rex.
Rex Chapman: I was born his senior year in college and he played four years, and I was just really little during that time. I remember bits and pieces. I remember him getting hurt one game, hurting his back, which eventually led him to have to retire. I remember getting out on the court somehow and picking up the ball during one of the timeouts and trying to shoot it. I was probably 2 or so. I remember from them talking that my dad didn't like it too well that I'd gotten out of my mom's sight. I remember living in Denver for a little while, but I don't remember a whole lot about it.

FB: Did your dad encourage you to play basketball?

RC: He was a high school and college basketball coach, but he never pushed me to play ball. I always liked to play ball and after school I would find my way over to his gym where he was having practice and just watch. That's what I wanted to do. I wanted to play ball and I wanted to play like the big guys and I just grew up around basketball. He just always told me whatever it was I wanted to do, that I should just try to do it the best I could.
    He never pushed me to play and I never once stepped on a basketball floor with my dad. We never played ball, we never shot ball or anything. If I had a question, I would ask him and he would tell me, but he wasn't going to pressure me into doing anything. You know probably all fathers want their sons, or want their daughters, to do well, but he just wanted me to be happy and do what I enjoyed. And probably because he didn't push me, that's why I liked it so much.

FB: Are you going to use that same approach in raising your son Zeke and daughter Caley?

Rex with CaleyRex and 2-year-old daughter Caley snuggle on the Chapmans' living room sofa.
RC: I see my dad in me a lot. Zeke's just basketball crazy right now. He knows all the teams and all the players. He's just really into it and I like it of course, but I just want him to be happy and do things that he enjoys doing and the same goes for Caley.

FB: It seems like Zeke is almost as familiar a face in the Suns' locker room as some of the players.

RC: Oh yeah, he loves it. He would rather go to practice with me than do anything - just to be able to shoot on the big goals and talk to the guys. He loves all those guys. Now it's everyday "Did Jason practice." He went the first day that Jason was supposed to come back from his injury, so now everyday he wants to know how Jason did in practice and he's got a Jason Kidd jersey.

FB: You really love being a father don't you?

RC: Yeah I do. You know it's weird, because from the time I was young, a friend and I were talking and just from the time we were young we would say "Well, when I'm a father..." I just always knew I wanted to be a father and I enjoy it. There's just nothing better than coming home from practice and have those little kids happy to see you and just play kids games and make sure that they're having a good time.

FB: Is being a pro athlete a good career when you have a family or a bad one?

Rex with CaleyFour-year-old Zeke has a few of his dad's moves - like this one-handed slam.
RC: I think it's good. I think we have the best job in the world, whether you have a family or whether you don't. You can only do this for so long, there's only a certain window of opportunity. You are gone quite a bit during the season and that's hard when you have kids. I don't think it matters whether they're younger or older, it's hard. I think that they need both parents there consistently and that's the hardest thing about it, but you know, it affords us a lot of luxuries that we might otherwise not have, such as being able to travel. I think travel teaches you a whole lot and I think the more you can travel and experience different things then the more rounded you're going to be. But it is hard being gone during the season, but the best thing is we're home for five months during the summer and you can be around all the time and you can make up for a little lost time. I think we're really blessed to be able to do the thing we do which is basketball and I don't think it is a bad things for family, that is as long as you can keep everything in perspective and that's that it doesn't last forever.

FB: How much longer would you like to play?

RC: Oh, I think another four or five years. I came out early, I was 19 turning 20 when I first came into the league and this is my ninth year. Four or five more years would put me at 13 or 14 years. But you have to take into consideration that was two years early and I've had some injuries that might have cut down on some of my playing. So I don't have the normal wear and tear that a nine-year veteran would have - other than maybe the injuries slowing me down a little bit, but I've come back from those rather well. I think another four or five years and then I'll try to find something else to do.

FB: During the past nine years, you've played for Charlotte, Washington and Miami and then last summer you signed a one-year contract with the Suns. Why did you choose Phoenix even though all they could offer you was the league-minimum under the salary cap?

RC: I was working out just staying in shape because training camp had started. I was on the treadmill one day working out and Danny Ainge ran me down. Danny and I had played against each other for probably six or seven years and I always liked Danny. I knew the situation, I knew he was going to be the next guy and I was happy that he called and said he'd really like me to come play. But I had told myself I wasn't going to go play anywhere for the minimum because I had played eight years in this league, I had been a starter for eight years, and I just felt like something would happen. I told him the situation and I told him that I really wasn't going to consider doing that. A little later on I got to thinking about it and he called a couple more times and I love playing ball and I couldn't picture a season going by without me being somewhere playing.

FB: How have you enjoyed your year in Phoenix?

RC: I really like it here. I like the organization, I've been with four different ones and you hear things about Phoenix around the league, being a player on another team, that Phoenix is a really classy organization and run first class and it really is. No question about it, from top to bottom, there are solid people in the organization
    The fan support here is great; they come every night regardless of how we've been playing. It reminds me of Kentucky and it reminds me of Charlotte. Charlotte was a lot the same, they pack it every night and there's nothing better than that. And there's nothing worse than being in a place where the fans don't come.
    I feel like we're very fortunate to be here, my family likes it and the kids like being able to play outside every day.

FB: So does that mean you expect to re-sign with Phoenix this summer?

RC: You know I don't really have any expectations. I've learned over the last couple of years to expect the unexpected. I think I obviously, I don't like moving the family around, so I think the more settled you can be, the better. I like Phoenix and we'd like to be back, but you just never know. You never know what's going to happen in this league.

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