We got to know Wolves guard Greg Buckner off the court as we learned what he wore in high school, who he thinks is the funniest guy on the team and why 2pac is better than Biggie.
MT: Let's rewind back to your high school days in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. What was cool to wear in the hallways?
Buck: Man, that's a long time ago. 1994. I wore a lot of sweatsuits, and that's about it. I don't remember wearing too much else. Nike sweatsuits, t-shirts. I wasn't a big NBA fan at all, and I didn't wear any jerseys.
MT: So how did you pass your time?
Buck: I was a big jokester, so I was all about comedians and things like that. Obviously, girls were a big part of my life back then...
MT: Obviously. How many girlfriends did you have?
Buck: Throughout high school, I'd say four. A serious one each year. I figure that girls tend to mature a little faster than guys, so I think each time the girl got tired of me.
MT: What comedians did you like watching/emulating?
Buck: Eddie Murphy. Martin (Lawrence). Tommy Davidson was a good one back then.
MT: And in the mid 90s, what music was playing in the headphones to your cassette player/Discman?
Buck: All hardcore rap, like N.W.A. Dr. Dre, ...
|Buckner's favorite show was "Martin".|
Buck: And Ice Cube. I listened to both west and east coast rap. Whatever had cuss words in it. You know that's how it is in high school. You weren't really listening to what else they were saying, you just wanted to hear that part and repeat them and think you knew everything.
MT: Do you remember what you watched on TV, besides "Martin?"
Buck: "In Living Color" was big back then. "The Cosby Show" for sure. "Cheers" was a good show. Everybody used to watch Bill.
MT: How about "Beverly Hills 90210" or "Saved By The Bell," the two best shows on the tube?
Buck: "Saved By The Bell" was good, I'm with you, yup.
MT: Did you dominate any other sports? Gym class?
Buck: That's all I played was basketball. I went to a small private school. We had soccer for a few years, but I wasn't into just running and running. We had baseball my senior year, but I'd never played it growing up so I didn't even try out.
MT: OK, let's take it up to college. How did you decide to head to Clemson down in South Carolina?
Buck: Rick Barnes. Originally I signed with Providence with coach Barnes, and after that season they won the Big East Tournament, and Clemson offered him the job. He took it, and the only reason I signed with Providence was because of him, so I found a way to get out of my scholarship and followed him to Clemson.
MT: Any cool recruiting stories like we saw Jesus Shuttlesworth go through on "He Got Game?"
Buck: No, not at all.
MT: Fine. What advice would you give to the college Buck from the nine-year NBA vet Buck?
Buck: I wish I would have known to be more aggressive and to shoot more. When I was in college, I was the man, but I was still very unselfish. You get up here, and these guys want you to be more aggressive and not be so passive on the offensive end. I'd tell Young Buck to shoot more.
MT: Not to be confused with "Young Buck" in G-Unit, of course. Now, you were only the fifth player in ACC history to lead your squad in scoring for four straight years, and you scored 85 points in five NCAA Tourney games. So you did score a bit.
Buck: Yeah, early in my career the ball was in my hands at the end of the shot clock and it was up to me to make a play, whether I shot it or passed it. Coach entrusted me to make decisions, and a lot of times I passed the ball, even when Coach wanted me to shoot. But that just wasn't how I was raised.
|ESPN's Dick Vitale called Buckner the best post-up guard in the nation.|
Buck: Dicky V had been saying that for a long time. You have to respect a guy like Dick Vitale, who's seen a lot of basketball. I was fortunate enough to have a lot of mismatches in the ACC. I was a bigger two guard and it helped me out.
MT: What do you remember about going against the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the NCAA Tournament?
Buck: Nothing. I put it out of my mind. We felt like if we'd won that game, we'd win the National Championship. We had the game won and let it slip away, so I put it out of my mind.
MT: OK, no follow-up questions on that then. You founded a charity called the G.B.U.C.K. League (Giving Back an Unconditional Commitment to Kids) in your hometown in Kentucky. Tell us about it.
Buck: My foundation's called the Greg Buckner Foundation and the G.B.U.C.K. League is under that. It started when I went back home when I first got into the NBA and ran a camp, and when speaking to those kids, I realized they didn't have the educational background to get out of Hopkinsville and make themselves successful, so I wanted to do something long term. So the basketball league lasted all summer, but as part of it you had to go to summer classes as well. If you didn't go to class, you couldn't play, and if you didn't pass class, you couldn't play. It kind of helped a lot of those kids do things that they wouldn't normally do, like reading and writing the right way, using proper utensils and other basic things. It went really well, and we still do it.
MT: Politics has been the talk of the town of late with Barak Obama going on a big run. Have you been keeping up with everything?
Buck: A little bit. I'm a Democrat supporter, even though the Republicans give us a lot of tax breaks. But the world as a whole doesn't view the United States in a positive way right now, and I think it's time for a change.
MT: What's your favorite thing to do when you're not playing ball?
Buck: Play with my kids. When you have kids, you stop taking naps during the day - which is what I used to do early in my career.
MT: You have five kids, actually, ages...
Buck: Six, three (four in April), two (three in March), and my little twins will be one in July. Aisha, Paris, Lil' Greg, Addison and Abigail.
|Buck says it's no contest: Biggie doesn't measure up to 2pac.|
MT: Nice. Peace, naps. See you later. So would you rather climb a mountain, build a fort or compete in a triathlon?
Buck: Build a fort. I wasn't good at that back in the day, but I wouldn't want to do a triathlon - that would be hard as heck, and climbing a mountain? That's just stupid.
MT: OK, who's the funniest and least funniest guy on the team?
Buck: The funniest dude would have to be myself. Wait, you know what? The funniest dude is Dog. Mad Dog (Mark Madsen), and the least funny is probably Theo Ratliff. He's not much of a jokester.
MT: We know what you watched in the 90s, but what about today?
Buck: I'm a history guy, so I'll watch whatever comes on the History Channel. I'm an A&E guy too, and I'll watch some "CSI" too.
MT: With music, is it still hardcore rap?
Buck: No, more slow stuff. I like Norah Jones. I like to relax to some Frank Sinatra, to broaden my horizons.
|But who's the best? H.O.V.A.|
Buck: Oh yeah.
MT: Finally, Biggie or 2pac?
Buck: 2pac, by far. Biggie didn't have enough records.
MT: Biggie wrote some of the best rhymes ever, but 2pac said more and made you feel more.
Buck: Right, and plus, 2pac had like eight albums even before he died, and Biggie only had a couple. You can't be the greatest with only two albums. But Jay-Z's taken over both spots now, so it's a battle for second.