Getting to Know Kirk Snyder
Minnesota fans may have already come to appreciate the effort of the newest Wolf, Kirk Snyder, on the court. But what's he like off the hardwood? We sat down with Snyder, recorder in hand, to find out.
MT: First of all, lets talk about the sleeve. With your practice attire, cutting one sleeve off an Under-Amour type shirt to feature a shooting sleeve...
Snyder: At first glance, it's like, 'All right, fashion statement, it looks pretty cool.' But really, I'm trying to get a game feel and it's the best way I can get a good feel while being a good teammate ... You know, not being so sweaty that my guys just really don't want to play with me or rub against me. I'm just trying to help my teammates while getting what I need for my situation with my shot. It keeps the elbow warm because I have a little tendonitis from shooting a lot of jumpers. If it gets hit, it has padding right here.
MT: OK, I see that. What do you like to do off the court?
Snyder: Since I've had a kid, it's pretty much getting hit in the head with things like balls all the time. That's pretty much it right now. Just getting hit in the head and jumped on and all of that stuff by my two-year-old, who is pretty active.
MT: Can you tell us about your kids and your wife?
Snyder: We have Kanigh, a little two-year-old that is full of energy. We also have Kade, who is eight months old. He's a handful. My wife, Haley, is my college sweetheart from Nevada. She's from a small city about an hour away from Reno, Nevada. She was a basketball player at the university as well.
MT: You're the real life couple from "Love and Basketball."
Snyder: Yeah, pretty much, it was love and basketball. We have a lot of things in common.
MT: How about aside from basketball and your family?
Snyder: I like to read a lot of books. That's pretty much it, besides watching TV and playing some video games.
MT: Favorite game?
Snyder: God of War on PlayStation II.
MT: So it's a relatively simple existence right now for you?
Snyder: Oh yeah, definitely.
MT: How about your college experience at the University of Nevada?
Snyder: I liked everything about Nevada. The family, the friends that I met, the whole college experience ... Being on your own and developing relationships that last a lifetime.
MT: Walk us through the decision to turn pro after your junior year. You were chosen with the 16th overall pick by the Utah Jazz.
Snyder: Sometimes, I wish that I would have stayed, just in terms of keeping the family thing going. I had a couple of guys that I came into school with and it felt like I left them. They were my best friends. It's kind of like, 'What if I would have stayed another year?' But then you look at the possibility of being injured, or Nevada not winning enough games, or whatever.
MT: Odds are that you had agents in your ear telling you what was best for you?
Snyder: I had the whole Jerry McGuire-type thing: Guys promising me things and giving me things. It made it hard for me as a young man in college, not having a whole lot. I mean, I had to eat noodles...
Snyder: Definitely, you know it. Chicken and beef. But it's one of those situations where you get a little greedy. I got greedy. I look back on it now, and wish I would have made a better decision. Made my own decision. I don't know what that decision would have been, but (I wish) I would have made my own decision based off of what I thought.
MT: Makes sense. OK now, word is you picked up the saxophone.
Snyder: I started playing (the saxophone) my second year with New Orleans. It was one of those things that I picked up. I got an instructor, and I had played in a band in elementary and middle school. So I picked it back up.
MT: And you're from Upland, California, on the outskirts of Los Angeles.
Snyder: That's right, I gotta rep my city. It's one of spots where you can say, 'Good things come from small places.' It's about an hour outside of L.A., straight east off the 10 (highway).
MT: What's the word regarding your first week in Minnesota?
Snyder: The brilliance. I go in structures, I'm walking around, and I'm observant because I've been a lot of places. The architecture, the people, the artistic side of things that are here is pretty amazing ... Like the skyway that goes across the city. That's pretty brilliant, that's pretty cool. There's nothing like it in the whole world. Just seeing that type of stuff, the artistic side. I ate for the first time, I went to J.D. Hoyts, and I ate lobster tacos for the first time ever. I thought they were great. Just that combination put me over the top.
MT: Well it's good that you like Minnesota when the weather is as terrible as it is right now, because it's a whole different deal in the summer.
Snyder: Oh I believe that. Land of 10,000 Lakes, right?
MT: Yes sir. Now, do we have a little East Coast - West Coast (facetious) tension between you and Sebastian Telfair. I saw you look his way when he was blasting Notorious B.I.G. the other day.
Snyder: I'm not into that as much as I am not being a Sebastian Telfair fan because he got drafted in front of me, right out of high school. That's predominantly where the discrepancy came from. That's what it is. It's not a rap thing. But if I said to say, I'm pretty diverse. I like a lot of different types of music.
MT: Do you write any of your own music?
Snyder: Yeah actually, I write some R&B music. They may not be one thing or another, I just like getting words down.
MT: I know you've heard this before, but you look like LeBron James.
Snyder: It's really not a bad thing, and it's pretty fun playing against him. I mean, he's a different breed.
MT: When's the first time you heard someone say you looked like LBJ?
Snyder: When I first got in the league, I was walking around, and someone was like, 'Hey that's LeBron!' But I'm saying, 'Nope, I've got my own name.'
MT: Hi I'm Kirk Snyder, and I'm in the league too.
MT: But there are worse players to look like. 'Bron's all right at basketball.
MT: Do you have a sweet tooth?
Snyder: Oh yeah. I like anything that has a lot of sugar in it. You know, candies, cookies, anything. If you gave me a box of sugar I think I might just eat it. That's bad though because my chef doesn't cook anything.
MT: Can we credit you for Houston's 15-game winning streak? Is that all you?
Snyder: Yeah, with the preparation at practice and the things that we do. It's a team game. Everyone is accountable. I had a couple people call me and poured their hearts and say how much they miss me. It's definitely a team thing and some of them were empowered by me. You know? We're friends. I said, 'You guys have an opportunity to do some great things. I can't do anything about it because I'm gone, but do whatever you have to do.'
MT: I hear that. Now, fill in the blank. If I could visit any country in the world, it would be _____.
Snyder: China. They haven't had any - to my knowledge - world wars. That's something that I think is cool. I'm a big history guy. Any place that is as powerful as they are that doesn't have quarrels with anybody, I think that's cool.
MT: Speaking of China, what was it like playing with Yao Ming?
Snyder: He had a tremendous work ethic. The humility side of him, I can't explain it. It's not even a question ... He's going to do right things, he's going to try his best and he's going to do it every single day. That's pretty amazing coming from a 7-5 guy.
MT: Did you chat with Yao about China?
Snyder: He really can't tell you anything. He knows English well, and can communicate, but not (necessarily) to elaborate. His communication skills aren't where they need to be for him to be able to teach you stuff.
MT: Who's going to be able to cook up a 2008 NBA Finals trophy for their city?
Snyder: Since it can't be us, let me think. (Pause) I have to go with Houston.
MT: Anything else we need to know about Kirk Snyder?
Snyder: (laughing) I like long walks on the beach...