How did your experience as a young player in the League impact how you coach and scout young talent?
“I’m kind of a hard critic when it comes down to it. I look for guys who can do everything, and it’s hard to find guys who have all those qualities — guys who can rebound, score, pass, defend, push the ball, see the court and have a great attitude. It’s also about shooting, if he can create his own shot or for his teammates, or if he is a good teammate. I look at all those things as I go out to critique a young man and judge how good he can be at the next level.”
What was your own Draft experience like?
“I’m from North Carolina, and the lucky thing about that was the Draft was in Charlotte that year, which was only 35 minutes from my hometown. Regardless, I didn’t get invited to my Draft, but I went because I was projected to go anywhere from 15 to 25. It was very special because I was able to experience it in front of everybody I grew up with — my mom, my sister, my uncles, my aunts and my friends I went to school with. It was probably one the best feelings to be a part of for me, being with the people who saw me work the hardest and seeing me achieve something I really worked my butt off to get.”
Did you get to keep your hat from Draft night?
“Actually, they took the hat back because I was traded like five minutes after I was drafted. They swapped the hats, and I didn’t keep the Seattle (SuperSonics) one.”
Did you keep the Denver Nuggets hat?
“Yes, I kept that one.”
Have you collected a lot of memorabilia over the years?
“Without a doubt — I have basketballs, sneakers, shoes, jerseys, basketball cards, articles, newspaper clippings, magazines. I do it for my kids, and it’s something so many guys who play sports or play basketball never get to be a part of and a lot of people don’t get to achieve. I try to keep everything I’ve been able to accomplish so I can pass it to my kids and they can see what I accomplished as a young man and as a grown man coming up in this society.”
What’s your favorite piece of memorabilia you’ve kept?
“I’m not an individual type of guy but in college I won Big 10 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, so it was probably one of the best parts of my life. When I made it to the NBA, winning the Sixth Man of the Year Award, going to the Western Conference Finals and almost making it to the Finals were also big things for me.”
What is your fondest memory of your time spent playing for Sacramento?
“It’s probably coming out and playing in front of the fans every night. When you sell out and (have such a long streak of) sellouts, it’s always a plus to be able to come out and play for those fans. Also, the Playoffs against the Lakers, that’s a memorable moment too.”
The Kings teams of the early 2000s seemed to have great chemistry and camaraderie. Do you have any good stories from your time playing with Vlade Divac?
“Oh man, Vlade was a character. I think he was the one guy who made everybody in the locker room so poised. He always kept the locker room laughing and joking. He was always that guy. I don’t have one exact thing, he was one of those guys who would spray water on you as you walked out of the shower or put something over your nose while you were sleeping to stop you from breathing. There was so much stuff he did that kept us on our toes and kept us all together.”
What was it like to play alongside Chris Webber?
“Chris was a serious one, but he was the leader just from the fact he knew everything was on his shoulders. He didn’t mind stepping up and being that guy. He was very vocal and very supportive. He was probably one of the best power forwards to ever play the game just because of his passion and his love for the game.”
In anticipation of the Bobby Jackson Foundation Golf Tournament coming up, how’s your golf swing looking?
“It’s good, but I actually had to go to the driving range today and work on my swing. It’s coming along.”
It’s not on par with Charles Barkley’s swing is it?
“No, not a chance!”
How excited are you for the tournament?
“It’s going to be my third year doing it, and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s Sept. 26 at Catta Verdera (Country Club) – Susan G. Komen for a Cure, my foundation and Camp Kesem all teamed up. All of the organizations help support dealing with cancer, and everyone knows someone who has been affected by it.”