July 11, 2008
Corey Maggette: Ready To Work
New Warrior Acquisition Wasted No Time In Preparing For 2008-09 Season
When joining a new team, it's typical for an NBA player to say how thankful he is to be part of the new organization, and how he can't wait to start working with the new team. It's one thing to just go through the motions and say those things, but understanding the player's true sentiments can sometimes be a difficult process in this day and age of political correctness.
Corey Maggette's statements on signing with the Warriors, however, are truly genuine. And if they aren't, his actions have a heck of a way of hiding his true feelings on being a Warrior.
On Thursday night, long after the majority of the team's front office staff had gone home for the day, Warriors Assistant General Manager Pete D'Alessandro was giving Maggette a tour of the team's practice facility and connecting executive offices in Downtown Oakland. Maggette saw the player's lounge, the locker room, the weight room and then he was taken inside the practice gym. Wearing his typical street clothes, he picked up a ball and started to casually shoot around.
"The next thing you know, he takes his shirt off and he's wearing a white T-shirt and he starts going a little harder," D'Alessandro said.
Shooting off of the gun, a mechanism that shoots out passes at varying speeds, Maggette was beginning to work up a bit of a sweat. And just like that, before the ink had even dried on his contract, Maggette was in the midst of his first workout as a member of the Golden State Warriors. Not long after he took his first jumper, the 6-foot-6, 225-pounder was told that he had access to the facility 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at which point his jaw just dropped.
"I'm sitting in the gym and I'm like, 'Wow, this is nice, and I have all this stuff I can use.' And then I'm like, 'Hey, do you guys have some shorts?'"
The 6-foot-6, 225-pound swingman then left the gym and made a call to his friend, Matt Barnes, who he came to know during their stint together with the Los Angeles Clippers. Barnes gladly allowed the newest Warrior to borrow a pair of shoes and soon after, Maggette returned to the practice court wearing a pair of red shorts, his white T-shirt and Barnes' shoes.
Maggette picked up right where he left off and began a rigorous and impromptu workout. After being up since 4 a.m., taking a flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and enduring all of the poking and prodding that comes along with undergoing an NBA physical, the nine-year NBA veteran put up 800 shots, and according to witnesses, he showed no rust, nor any sign of fatigue.
"For a while, he was up over 80 percent," D'Alessandro said. "Jimmie (Corey's older brother) and I were laughing because he was just lighting it up. He just kept going."
Maggette's actions on the first night as a Warrior speak well for his future with the team. (photo: Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty)
The only thing that impeded Maggette's progress was a phone call from Head Coach Don Nelson, welcoming the Chicago native and Duke University product to the Warriors. Soon afterward, Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Mullin called D'Alessandro, hoping to get connected with Maggette, but declined interrupting the workout.
Once he completed the shooting drills, Maggette made his way toward the Warriors' state-of-the-art weight room. As he was being briefed on Friday's activities - visiting a session of Warriors Basketball Camp and addressing the Bay Area media - he looked up to D'Alessandro and a Warriors public relations official and said, "You guys aren't waiting for me, are you? Because I'm going to be here for a while."
As it turns out, Maggette is a man of his word. When all was said and done, Maggette had put in a two-and-a-half hour workout, and that was after a taxing NBA physical.
"He closed this place down last night, that's for sure," D'Alessandro said. "It really reminds me of things I've seen from Chris (Mullin). I have a feeling there are going to be some late night shooting contests downstairs between those two for sure."
Early mornings and late nights at the gym is nothing unusual for Maggette, as evidenced by his bodybuilder physique. He's known around the NBA as a tireless worker, and the results of that are quite obvious on the court. He has averaged more than 20 points per game in three of the last five seasons and he is consistently amongst the league leaders in free throw attempts. Maggette ranked third in the league last year, behind only Dwight Howard and LeBron James, with 9.7 free-throw shots a game, and he is a career 81.9-percent shooter from the line.
But perhaps an equally important result of Maggette's training regimen is the anticipated effect on his new teammates. Along with his 22.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game last season, the Warriors are adding a player in Maggette who can add to the leadership core headed by Stephen Jackson.
"With the group of guys we have, it's a pretty dedicated and committed group already," D'Alessandro said. "To add a guy like Corey, with his incredible level of dedication, that can only be a good thing, especially for the younger guys coming in who maybe haven't seen this."
As he has been with everything that has come his way in his two days as a Warrior - visiting with basketball campers, signing autographs and answering questions from the media - Maggette is certainly welcoming of this challenge.
"Being in the gym early, being in the weight room, taking care of my body and eating right, that's very important," Maggette said. "(Chris Mullin) wants to instill that in these guys at a young age, and I'm the perfect person to do that."