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NBA All-Star Interviews: Sunday Night

 


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/ Feb. 21, 2005

2005 NBA All-Star Weekend is in Denver, Colorado. Sunday, February 20 featured the 2005 NBA All-Star game. Below are interviews with players from the game after the final buzzer sounded. The East beat the West by a score of 125-115. East guard Allen Iverson was named All-Star MVP.

SUNDAY NIGHT INTERVIEWS

DWYANE WADE, Miami Heat

Q: You told everyone you were a game dunker. That reverse dunk you did tonight was pretty nice. What can you say about that?

Wade: Thank you. I am a game dunker. I could never do the contest thing. In the game, I can usually get some things at the rim.

Q: What was your first All-Star appearance like?

Wade: It was great. I wish we could do it all over again. I really enjoyed playing with these guys, and most importantly, I enjoyed winning with these guys.

Q: Were you thinking you could win the MVP toward the end of the game?

Wade: No. I was just playing hard and trying to get the win. I didnít think about it at all. They told me at the end I should have tried to score a little more and I was passing, so it wasnít on my mind.

Q: Did it feel more intense down the stretch?

Wade: Yeah, the defense picked up. Both teams really wanted it. But I think the East wanted it a little more.

Q: What did you think of Stan Van Gundy arguing with the refs?

Wade: I think it was hilarious. He was letting us play. I think it was a great experience for him and our coaching staff. All the people from Miami really enjoyed being here together.



ALLEN IVERSON, Philadelphia 76ers

Q. Allen, did you come in with a pass-first mentality tonight? It looked like you were really looking to set up the players more so than thinking about scoring.

ALLEN IVERSON: Well, I mean, it's the All-Star Game and I'm not -- I'm not playing on the team I usually play with. They need me to do a lot more things than I have to do out here, but, I mean, I'm playing with the greatest players in the world and I'm playing with four other All-Stars. So, I mean, in a game like this you just let it come to you, however the game is flowing and that's the way you play. The game is easy for me like this, just having four other guys, I didn't get double-teamed all night. You know, I didn't get the attention that I usually get and it just makes it that much easier for me.

Q. You didn't get a lot of the attention because you had other guys doing that like Shaq and LeBron. With Shaq now in the East and LeBron coming on, do you think that the balance of power has really shifted towards the East?

ALLEN IVERSON: Absolutely. When you take Shaquille O'Neal from the West and then bring him to the East, you know, nine times out of ten, you can say that the East is stronger, regardless of the other four guys that you have on the floor because he's going to make everybody so much better and he's going to do so much for a team.

It's not with just his scoring or his passing ability or his rebounding or anything like that. It's his presence. You know, when you've got a guy on the floor and so many people give him that much attention, it just makes the game easier for you and I mean, he's the easiest player in the world to play with. I found out firsthand tonight.

I thought about coming to this All-Star Game and everybody was talking about, you know, why is this one so special. Well, one of the main reasons is I had an opportunity to play with somebody that I thought was the most dominant player in the world, and it's something that I'll remember and cherish.

Q. Just curious, the alley-oop to LeBron James in the first quarter, how did that happen?

ALLEN IVERSON: It was just on a break and my man took his eyes off LeBron and came to pick up the ball and once I saw him make a move towards me, I just threw the ball in the air. With LeBron and Vince and those guys, you don't have to throw a perfect pass. I mean, they will make it look perfect.

Q. This is the second time that you're All-Star MVP. Last time a lot of controversy swirled around you and you've gone through some up and downs. What's going to be different about this All-Star MVP Allen Iverson compared to the last one?

ALLEN IVERSON: I'm older. Simple as that.

I mean, you can't expect me to stay 25, 26 years old forever. You've got to grow up. You know, a lot of mistakes that I made before in my life, you know, I wish it never happened, but I'm happy that I made those mistakes and make sure I don't make them again and learn from them.

It's all in becoming a man. When you're in the NBA and you come into the league, everybody expects you to be some guy that's grown already, a grown man, you know, and not make mistakes, but I mean, I'm from the ghetto, and, you know, people give me $1 million at 21 years old. Yeah, I didn't know how to act. But, I mean, I'm a grown man. I'm a husband, I'm a father, you know, with three kids and one on the way. I've got a 10-year-old daughter that can read the paper now, and that understands things that she sees on TV. (Laughter) so I think about that before I make a lot of decisions that I make now. And the whole thing is just me maturing and getting older. A lot of things that I've done in my life, I'm not proud of, but I'm proud of the fact that I recognize that, you know, those things weren't the right things to do and I move forward in my life and I'm trying to be a better person first and then a better basketball player.

Q. On TV you dedicated the game to the passing of your best friend's mother. Can you expand a little bit on the best friend and what kind of relationship you had with his mom?

ALLEN IVERSON: I mean, he's my best friend. You know, we've been friends since I was 14 years old. You know, he's always come at me as Allen Iverson the friend instead of Allen Iverson the basketball player. He always kept it real with me like that. He was always there for me when I was down and he's going to be there when I'm on top. But just a best friend, like anybody else in here has somebody that's not their blood, that they are close to and felt like they are blood. That's what he was to me and I know how much he loves his mom and you know, a lot of times I couldn't talk to him. I didn't know what to say to him because I never experienced anything like that. I can never imagine anybody losing their mother. For him to go through it, it was tough for me, but you know, I felt good about myself because I did everything that I could to try to help him get through it. I think he'd love me even more for that.

Q. Can you give us his name?

ALLEN IVERSON: Andre Steel (phonetic).

Q. Can you just talk about LeBron James' play, and a lot of people were calling it as kind of a coming-out party for him and what was it like lining up alongside him in the backcourt?

ALLEN IVERSON: It was good. I played with him on the Olympic team and I watched him on TV all the time. He's a good friend of mine, you know, as well as his mom and the rest of his friends. So, you know a lot of times, instead of me getting hyped about the things that you do on the court, I just feel good about him being able to do it and the feel that he gets from you all guys. I feel good about the things that you people say about him and other people say about him. It's just a great feeling.

But, you know, I always let him know that LeBron James right now is on top of the world, you know, but don't ever forget that these same people that put you on top of the world, can put you under, and as long as he realize that, as long as he realize that people with those cameras in his face are not his friends and they are just doing their job, he'll be all right. It's not personal with any of y'all, but because you're doing your job, you've got to make a living but be aware of it and don't get caught up.

I thought plenty of times that reporters were my friends and they laughed in my face and smiled in my face, but their first opportunity to knock me down when I made a mistake of my life, they were right there in my front step, and they weren't smiling. So that's the only message that I try to give to LeBron and I hope he never have to go through anything.

You know, people talk about the maturity level that he has. Hopefully he did learn from some of the things that went on in my life or other guys' life to where he won't have to make the mistakes that we made.



JERMAINE O'NEAL, Indiana Pacers

Q: What did you enjoy most about this weekend?

OíNeal: Just being here is always a great thing Ė the atmosphere, the fans, your peers that you play against so much. You get an opportunity to mingle and spend some time with them. Itís not one particular thing that sticks out. Itís just the total enjoyable weekend. And fans that havenít been to an NBA All-Star Weekend, I would suggest that they come out and enjoy the atmosphere.

Q: What can you say about the East beating the West? OíNeal: We needed it, especially me. I was 0-3 coming into this one. I thought that we played tough, we played together and we got the win.

Q: How was it having Shaq as a teammate this time instead of playing against him?

OíNeal: It was a hell of a lot different having him on your team and letting him take all the doubles and not having to defend a guy like Shaq. Heís the most dominant player to ever play the game and having him on my team meant a lot.

Q: That 17-0 run was pretty impressive. Can you talk about that?

OíNeal: In the first quarter they kind of got out, they were leaking out early, obviously they have a lot of size so they can keep two guys down and keep the other three on the wing. We just wanted to get out and make transition points and get back and make them make some tough half-court offensive plays and it worked out for us.

Q: Allen Iverson played really well tonight. What do you think of that?

OíNeal: He always plays tough. AIís the guy that doesnít have very much size but has a huge heart. He brings it every single night and he deserves the MVP award tonight.



RAY ALLEN, Milwaukee Bucks

Q. Ray, can you just talk about the difference of playing with Shaq in past All-Star games and now playing without him?

RAY ALLEN: You know, Shaq is similar to Tim. You know, you give the ball to Tim, Tim is around the basket. He always gets his hand on the ball and puts it back up.

But with Shaq, there's no way really to stop him so when the ball went down low, there's not much that you can do with it. In years past we always knew to give it to him and just let him do his thing. The guys out there in the East, they found that out real fast.

Q. Did it seem like maybe more of a team, I know you had a couple of passes off the backboard but did it seem like a more team-oriented All-Star Game than normal?

RAY ALLEN: Yeah, I know a lot of people want to see a lot of individual players step up and take the mantle, crossovers and get into the holes and high-flying dunks, but I thought overall it was a good display of basketball. Everybody made a conscious effort at getting their teammates involved and, you know, with so many people watching the game all over the world, you know, we definitely have to set an example. I think as much as we like to showboat a little bit, that team concept was out there.

I think some people were, you know, young, a little bit in the beginning but we were making a conscious effort of getting the ball across the floor. You can attribute that to Popovich on our side and you see what they have done in San Antonio, you know, winning so many games and preaching defense and passing the ball. There's no better coach at this point in the league than Pop, and definitely with Van Gundy on the other side.

Q. This whole weekend was about the young generation and D-Wade and LeBron had a good game. Do you feel like yourself and AI are like the older generation, and can you talk about the younger guys?

RAY ALLEN: Well, you know, the average age of the league has gone down tremendously. You know, we've had a lot of young players come into the league and not just players that have come into the league, but have come in and made an impact. You know, we have to celebrate that, celebrate the guys that play well and definitely help their teams win.

The guys that were on display this weekend, they are not only great individual talents, but their teams are also playing great basketball. So, you know, you definitely have to look at that and hope that for years to come, you know, this league is going to be in great hands.

Q. You're very familiar with Allen, what's your take on his performance tonight?

RAY ALLEN: Well, he just, he was focused tonight. He knew he was going to go out and he was going to play. He was going to go out, and I won't necessarily say get the MVP but he was going to do what he always does, and that's play basketball. You know, there are a few guys that can come into this type of environment and just play as if they were in their backyard, and he's definitely, in my mind for as long as I've been playing, one of the masters at it. No matter what stage it is, what city you're in and who you're playing against, he's going to bring his game regardless.



TIM DUNCAN, San Antonio Spurs

Q. Tim, can you just talk about the difference of playing with Shaq as an All-Star and then playing against him?

TIM DUNCAN: There's definitely a difference there. You'd love to have him on your team, but I thought all in all, we did a pretty decent job without him. Unfortunately we lost the game, but all in all, he didn't -- I don't think he killed us, but it's fun having him on this side.

It's fun playing with him once a year and having him around in the locker room. So that part of it I missed, that's the part I missed the most.

Q. Talk about Denver as a host city and how you enjoyed your weekend.

TIM DUNCAN: Actually, I really enjoyed it. It was nice. It's nice getting around and seeing some different places. My family got around a bunch, walked up and down and so it was a very nice city. I really enjoyed myself this weekend.

Q. You didn't play as much in the second half. I was curious as to your comments on that and was there something wrong or just not the situation for you to play?

TIM DUNCAN: No, it just was kind of understood before that that I would not play a whole lot of minutes. That's kind of a sacrifice I was willing to make. It's always a tough thing balancing the minutes with everybody and trying to keep everybody happy and everything. I took a hit on that part and partially because of that, partially because I'm still a little bit hurt, so just wanted to kind of, as much as possible, stay off my feet. So it worked out very well. Again, unfortunately we didn't win the game, but all in all, I thought everything worked out well.



KOBE BRYANT, L.A. Lakers

Q. Kobe, you're very familiar with Allen. Could you give your perspective on his performance tonight and what was special about it?

KOBE BRYANT: Oh, it was an incredible performance. I mean, everybody knows about his mental toughness and tenacity and you know he's a heck of a player and he had a great game tonight. He's having a big year down in Philadelphia and hopefully he can stay healthy and continue to have a big year.

Q. Can you share with us what kind of conversations you and Shaquille had this weekend, if any?

KOBE BRYANT: None. Simple answer.

Q. Didn't talk at all.

KOBE BRYANT: No.

Q. Seemed like just before the tip I think all ten starters shook hands or patted each other except you and Shaq. Is there a reason why?

KOBE BRYANT: You know, I'm really not going to make this weekend about myself and Shaquille. That's just not fair. That's not basketball. You know, it's a great weekend with a lot of great basketball being played. I obviously respect Shaquille tremendously for what he can do on the basketball floor and vice versa.

So, I mean, even when we played together, we weren't the best of buddies, but we won three titles, so I think everybody has to just kind of leave that in the past and move on from it.

Q. Just talk about the fourth quarter and you guys got kind of within reach but it kind of just, latter half, you couldn't get anything to fall.

KOBE BRYANT: Yeah, a couple turnovers, key turnovers down the stretch and they were able to get a lot of easy run-outs, get in transition and get easy buckets. We got some pretty good lucks down the stretch; they didn't go for us. They came away with the win.

Q. How was this weekend for you personally, not being the focus with everybody talking about the younger generation?

KOBE BRYANT: You know, it feels great, being I'm one of the older guys now and to be able to come here to All-Star Weekend and just blend in and just have a good time and just play basketball. That's what we all enjoy doing the most and, you know, the best time of the weekend is going out and competing against so many great players.

Q. Any reason why this game tonight seemed so ragged and both teams -- neither team shot 50 percent and it seemed about 30 percent on jumpers?

KOBE BRYANT: Blame it on the altitude. I know my chest was burning.

Q. Talk about the difference of having Shaq on your All-Star Team for every year and now he's out East, and seemed like they took advantage of having him?

KOBE BRYANT: I don't really know. I mean in the past when we've played, we've gone into him several times but most of the time it's in transition, being the point guard, we had so many straight shooters, we were just clicking from Dirk to Peja to Ray, to all of these other guys, Tim in the post. When you have Tim and Shaq in the post, Tim on one block and Shaq on the other block, it's a wrap.

Q. What happened to the goal of ten minutes and sitting down? You played more minutes than anybody?

KOBE BRYANT: You know what, Popovich just reeled me in. It was such a tremendous honor for me to play for Popovich and he's such a great coach.

I always, you know, view Popovich as being one of the best coaches ever, and to play for him, I realize how great he is. I just enjoyed playing for the man.







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