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Q&A with Jason Richardson
Prior to being honored at the Warriors' Hardwood Classics Night matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers on November 24, we caught up with Warriors legend Jason Richardson and reminisced about the “We Believe” playoff team from 2007, his iconic performances in the dunk contest and much more. Here are some highlights from the interview …
What do you enjoy about reflecting on the 2007 “We Believe” Playoff team?
Everything comes back to us, the locker room moments, cracking jokes with each other, the brotherhood, the accountability... The six years I've been here, I always wanted that and it didn't happen until my last year here; where guys were really serious about winning games, serious about going out there and playing for each other. Not worrying about who's scoring, just trying to win the game.
Are those some of the similarities you're seeing between this current Warriors team and that We Believe team, that comradery?
Oh yeah, definitely. You've got your superstar who's very unselfish. He doesn't care if he scores or not, but he can score, that's the fun part about him. But they've got so many guys on the team that are willing to give up their shot for the open shot, the open layup, the open three. They play team defense, they're already talking, they hold each other accountable, and nobody takes anything personal. You can see all of that on the floor.
We were always on the edge of our seats for what you would do during the dunk contests. When the years go on and you look back to those dunks, what comes to mind?
First of all, it's something I always wanted to do since I was a kid; I practiced those dunks over and over at the park once I got old enough to dunk. And second of all, to put the Warriors on the map. To let people know that it was the start of something different.
We were talking to Draymond Green about you and he was so full of pride in thinking of how you helped set the path for athletes to come from Saginaw and go to Michigan State and make this mark. When you see Draymond, what do you see in his character?
He's a winner first of all, he's a natural born winner and leader. He beat all the odds and all the nay-sayers. I can remember him coming out of high school, people said "He's not going to play much at Michigan State", then once he got to Michigan State, "Well he's not going to make it to the NBA, he's an in-betweener", and he just worked, and worked, and worked on his game. I couldn't be more happy for anybody, especially a guy that not only came from Michigan State, but out of my home city. To see somebody else make it out of my city and doing an amazing job right now, I couldn't be more happy.
When you think back to what Dub Nation is, and you're seeing them rewarded this way, what are your memories about the Warriors fans?
Just everything... These fans just had your back no matter what, as long as you played hard and brought it every night, they knew we were working to build something here. The most amazing experience with these fans was that first playoff game with We Believe. They were here as soon as the doors were allowed to open, it was sold out. Everybody was in their seats and they stood up the whole game, and I was just like this is what these fans deserve. And then to see last year, what these guys did here, to win the championship, I was the happiest ex-Warrior guy there was.
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