Jamaal Tinsley Interview
Indiana Pacers point guard Jamaal Tinsley was born and raised in New York City. InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner recently met with Tinsley in Madison Square Garden for an exclusive interview about growing up.
InsideHoops.com: You're from New York. What exact part of Brooklyn?
Jamaal Tinsley: Bedford-Stuyvesant, between Marcy and Tompkins.
InsideHoops.com: When did you first start playing ball?
Jamaal Tinsley: I started when I was about six, playing in 305 park. As a kid, just going there every night, late at night, and in the morning. Just playing basketball all day, that's all I wanted to do.
InsideHoops.com: Your brothers and sisters, did they play?
Jamaal Tinsley: They were into other things. I got three brothers, four sisters. My older brother, he's pretty good, but he never really took it serious.
InsideHoops.com: How early were you playing actual organized ball?
Jamaal Tinsley: When I was six I started playing in pre-teen. Where I grew up at, it was a little 12-and-under tournament. When I started traveling, I was like eight, seven, playing AAU. And every since then, just been playing.
InsideHoops.com: For high school, you were all over the place.
Jamaal Tinsley: The last one was Tilden.
InsideHoops.com: Run through the schools you bounced to.
Jamaal Tinsley: Man, I started at Prospect Heights. Bounced around. Grover Cleveland. Eastern District. Cleveland-Ohio, a school out there for a year. Then Tilden. Then a GED program. So, I've been around.
InsideHoops.com: What's the main reason you switched around so much?
Jamaal Tinsley: Just not focused. Caught up in the streets, hanging out, not going in the right path, basically.
InsideHoops.com: In high school, who were some of the known names you played with or around?
Jamaal Tinsley: Stephon (Marbury), we were on the same AAU team, Brooklyn, USA. Allan Griffin. Trevor Diggs. All on that team.
InsideHoops.com: In your high school years, out of the gym, which parks were you playing at?
Jamaal Tinsley: Everywhere. West 4th. 68th, the Pro-Am tournament. Rucker. Soul in the Hole. That's it, mainly, in New York City.
InsideHoops.com: Does any one game back in those days stand out in your head? A really memorable run?
Jamaal Tinsley: I got so many, I can't... lot of games I had fun out there, just doing what I want to do, and playing like everybody want to see the game played out there on the court. It's entertaining out there on the Harlem court. And basically just going out there and playing, just trying to get the fans involved.
InsideHoops.com: How'd you decide where to go to college?
Jamaal Tinsley: I started from the bottom. And Iowa State was the bottom. Once I went there, I just felt at home. So, I just stayed. Turned down Kansas, UNLV, Utah, TCU, Clemson; I had top schools come in. I felt at home once I got there.
InsideHoops.com: What's your most memorable college experience? A game, or a general feeling, or anything.
Jamaal Tinsley: That was probably one of the best moves, by me going there. Helped me in school, off the court, basketball, coach he was very demanding, and it helped me out a lot to get to the next level. So, it was good that I made the right decision, instead of the wrong decision that some people make. It was a good experience, going to college, to the midwest, the cornfield. It was a good experience for me.
InsideHoops.com: Are there guys you played with in the past who you think had the talent to make the pros who didn't get here?
Jamaal Tinsley: (Laughs) It's a lot. People I walk with, sometimes when I'm in New York City, I have them come see me, at home. It's a lot of them. I got three or four of them around me every other day that could have been here. But things just didn't work out.
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