Jason Kidd Olympics interview
On the morning of August 20, in the Olympic basketball quarterfinals, Team USA beat Australia, 116-85. Here's what USA point guard Jason Kidd said after the game:
Question: Talk about Australiaís Mills.
Jason Kidd: He has the speed to get by guys and get to the basket and he can shoot threes, heís tough to cover.
Question: Do you see any NBA potential?
Jason Kidd: He does have NBA potential. He has to keep working on his game. The skyís the limit for him. Itís up to him if he wants to get to the NBA. Right now heís going in the right direction.
Question: Is that what stood out Ė his speed?
Jason Kidd: And he can shoot. He can knock down the jump shot. I think the next step for him is to be able to run the team. In the NBA you have to not just be able to do one thing, you have to do multiples. The guards in the league are so good. You talk about Chris Paul, Deron Williams, the younger generation. Those guys are good.
Question: Talk about the close first half and being able to pull away from Australia.
Jason Kidd: We donít panic. We keep our composure, we continue to execute the game plan. We get on one another, we push each other. Thatís the beauty of this team, we care about one another. If somebody isnít pulling their weight we pick them up until they get going. That first quarter, first half, we didnít panic. We missed a ton of free throws. We knew what we were doing wrong and then we came out in the second half and we jumped right on them.
Question: What was being done wrong in the second half of the first quarter?
Jason Kidd: They were making threes. We felt that in this game that they were going to live and die by the 3-pointer. They made a couple. We had a couple of defensive breakdowns but we took care of it. Thatís the beauty of this team. On the fly we can solve problems without having to call timeouts. Communication is a big weapon for us. Nobody is afraid to talk to one another because we all respect one another.
Question: You won a gold medal in Sydney, what are you here for?
Jason Kidd: To win another gold medal. We're one step closer after beating a very good Australian team and now we wait for the winner of Greece and Argentina.
Question: Is there anything you need to change for the next two games?
Jason Kidd: We know our next opponent is going to be tough no matter if its Greece or Argentina. We have to get better defensively, but keep playing at the high level we have been playing at. We have to continue to be unselfish and hopefully we should be able to come out on top.
Question: What do you think of your team's performance at these Games?
Jason Kidd: I think we're playing well. Everybody's touching the ball. We have some very talented players in LeBron and Kobe. We're all playing defense and we're all cheering for one another. That's what makes the game a lot of fun.
Question: You now have four field goal attempts and four successful makes. You are shooting 100 percent, perhaps you should maybe try some more?
Jason Kidd: I don't want to push it. Don't jinx me either. The big thing is I'm having fun and I am with a group of guys who are talented, so I don't have to do any scoring. I just try to get those guys the ball.
Question: What do you tell your teammates before the game?
Jason Kidd: To relax and have fun, enjoy every moment because the Olympics are coming to an end. We'll never be back together as a team playing, but the big thing is that we're here for one thing and that's what we're here for.
Question: What do you think about Michael Phelps?
Jason Kidd: Well, he's the most incredible athlete on the planet right now for his performance here in Beijing. 8 Gold Medals--he's the most dominant athlete on the planet other than Tiger Woods. He's a great guy. With all the expectations and accomplishments, he's a down to earth guy.
Question: You are in the medal round now, can you talk about that?
Jason Kidd: Well we haven't accomplished anything yet. We've taken one baby step and now our next step is going to be tough. When we play Greece or Argentina we will have our hands full. We'll have to make sure that our defense is tight and remember that we are here for one thing and that is to win a gold medal.
Question: Deron Williams hit a nice shot at the end of the half, do you think the third quarter made the difference for your team?
Jason Kidd: Deron knocked down a big three and that pushed us forward because we picked it up from that point. Kobe and Carmelo knocked down some big threes and then before you knew it we were up 20 something and then we kept playing defense and wearing those guys down.
Question: Do you feel you're peaking at the right time?
Jason Kidd: I wouldn't say we're peaking, but we're playing pretty good basketball. The one thing we've relied on is our defense. One thing we need to work on is our free throws. When we play defense the way we can, it gives us a good chance to win.
Question: Did you surprise Australia by shooting a couple of times tonight?
Jason Kidd: I probably surprised everybody. The whole world was probably shocked.
Question: What is the comparison between this team and the one in 2000 when you won a gold?
Jason Kidd: Well one is age. But in 2000 I don't know if we were as hungry because we were favorites and the world was just getting better at the game of basketball. But this team is hungry because of the taste in 2004 and 2006. These guys are hungry. They want to win. Those are the biggest things that stand out in my mind.
Question: Have you told the guys what it feels like to win a gold medal?
Jason Kidd: I've told the guys that at the Opening Cermonies you get goose bumps and that once you receive that Gold Medal you might cry but that you will also get goose bumps. You understand and reflect on all the hard work that you put in and that nobody understands what you've gone through and that nobody can take that away from you.