Q&A: Faried relishing his 'Manimal' revival with Rockets

Via Sekou Smith & NBA.com

Via Sekou Smith & NBA.com

Kenneth Faried knows how fleeting this all can be.

The fun. The fame. People filling the building wearing your jersey.

One day it’s the highest of highs. The next … it’s all gone.

Faried was a cult figure early in his NBA career in Denver. “The Manimal” was beloved by Nuggets fans at Pepsi Center as they donned his No. 35 jersey and wore dreadlock wigs in honor of the undersized, non-stop big man.

He was at the top of his game in the summer of 2014, a part of the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team that won a gold at the FIBA World Cup. Faried could count Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry, James Harden, Klay Thompson, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins among his U.S. teammates.

After making the All-Tournament team, he signed a four-year, $50 million extensionwith the Nuggets in October 2014 as a seeming staple of the franchise’s future.

That never happened. Friction with a new coach, Faried’s injuries, the rise of young bigs (Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic) and an All-Star free agent pickup (Paul Millsap) made Faried basically an afterthought. Traded to Brooklyn in July of 2018, Faried played in just 12 games there before agreeing to a buyout in January.

By then, Faried was unsure of his future in the league. Yet the timing turned out to be perfect.

The Houston Rockets needed someone to help them survive in the post after center Clint Capela’s thumb injury sidelined him more than a month.

“The Manimal” has been revived in Houston, making an instant impact playing off Chris Paul and reigning Kia MVP James Harden. With solid stats (13.6 points per game, 8.8 rebounds per game), he’s eager to contribute however he can for a playoff team.

Faried sat down with NBA.com's Sekou Smith in a wide-ranging interview, discussing his journey, the Rockets’ finish to 2018-19 and the looming playoffs...

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