Eddie White Goes 1-on-1 With David West
"Quoted with Eddie White" is a new video series featuring exclusive 1-on-1 interviews with your 2014-15 Indiana Pacers. What does David West do when he needs to get in the right frame of mind before a game? How has he become such a pro's pro? What will he do after basketball? Pacers.com's Eddie White sat down with the veteran forward to find out.
When things get tough for David West, he has a way to put himself in the right frame of mind.
“Xavier happened to be a positive stage for me in my life,” West said of his alma mater when he sat down for a one-on-one interview with Eddie White of Pacers.com.
“I still have this thing where if I’m down a little bit, I’ll put on some Xavier shorts. If I feel like I need to have a good game, I’ll go to the game with my Xavier shorts on and it just puts me in a comfort zone.”
West is the Pacers’ elder statesman and locker room leader, setting an example of excellence the rest of the squad strives for, on the court and off. What makes him such a pro’s pro? The same type of mentoring he now does for younger players, which he received when he was new to the league.
“When I was a rookie, I was on the oldest team in the NBA,” West told White. “So I had a lot of guys to learn from, guys that were 14, 15, 16 years in, which was invaluable for me as a young player.”
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Who were his most valuable mentors?
“It’s probably a trio of guys,” West said. “Probably the top guy would be P.J. Brown – he sort of just gave me the ins and outs, the ropes. And then Stacey Augmon and Steve Smith were two guys that communicated to me clearly that, ‘Look young fella, if you wanna be around a long time, A, B, C, D, and E.’”
As a pro’s pro and a Yankees fan, naturally West had some thoughts on the consummate pro that just retired following a storied 20-year Major League Baseball career, Derek Jeter.
“Just the way he played the game and just his approach, to do something 20 years, particularly in that sport, is a feat in and of itself,” West said. “But for him to be able to be productive, be a world champion, and then be an ambassador for baseball, you can’t really find a guy who’s a better model for Major League Baseball than Derek Jeter.”
Speaking of retirement – not that his is coming anytime soon – what would life look like after basketball for West?
“I really love to teach,” West told White. “And I love engaging young people. … When you’re able to get a message across to a nine or 10 year-old, way ahead of when you got it, it’s something that I really enjoy doing. … I feel like basketball is a great tool to be able to help kids figure out how to make decisions and understand the value of training, doing something and seeing the benefit of the reward later, not immediately.”
Whether they’re young children or young NBA players trying to learn how to be professionals, West has shown he has a wealth of wisdom to impart. As the 2014-15 season approaches, there are fresh faces on his squad that will soon learn just how invaluable West has been for Indiana both on and off the court.
They’ll also have a front row seat to witness a true professional at his craft.