HIGH SCHOOL // HOME LIFE // ONE ON ONE // CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
ONE ON ONE
What's it been like getting to play close to home -- has it been what you expected?
TMAC: Yeah, everything's been running smooth. I think the only bad part is just not being able to play with Grant. I've been fortunate enough to carry the load and get us to the playoffs, but we've failed to come out of the first round. But it's been a great experience these past two years. It's been fun, great coaching staff, great teammates, everything's just great. The city is great; fan support is great, and just being home. Everything's going good, but hopefully I can have a healthy Grant Hill and not only get to the playoffs, but try to get out of the first round.
Have you got a feel for what it's like to play with Grant in the short time he's been healthy since you've been here?
TMAC: You know, the times that we did play together, we showed signs of being a great duo. But you really can't tell until we go a full season how well we can really play together. Hopefully, we can start off and gel right away, and just jump out to a quick start.
Can Grant come back anywhere close to 100 percent?
TMAC: I see how hard he works, so I know it's frustrating for the fans, 'cause they really want to see how good this team will be with me and Grant on the court at the same time, playing a complete season. He's not gonna be full strength right away, but I think toward the end of the season, he'll be healthy.
Do you think you can get out of the first round of the playoffs this year?
TMAC: I look at New Jersey's record, and I think they had, like, eight more wins than us. I mean, right there, we gotta -- I gotta, or my team gotta find some type of way to get over that hump, to find a way to get out of the first round. Not just only to get there. We gotta find some way to get out of the first round. I don't know what it's gonna take, but we gotta do it, and it's gotta be this upcoming season.
What did you find out about yourselves as a team in that Charlotte series?
TMAC: To be honest with you, Charlotte was a better team than us, but I felt we should've won that series. We had it, you know, every game. We didn't get the edge, you know, in the fourth quarter. It's like, we were winning throughout every game until the fourth quarter, and then it was like, they made a run. And once they made a run to take the lead, it was all over. It was like we just laid our guard down when it really mattered, and that's what hurt us. I think we played hard and played smart for two or three quarters, but when it comes time to be smart, in time and possession, we're not smart at all. We sort of lose our focus of what needs to be done on both ends of the court.
What was the verbal jousting you had with Baron Davis during last year's playoffs all about?
TMAC: That was just the spirit of the moment, just having fun. I hate a boring playoff series, so you gotta start somethin' up, some kind of controversy between the two teams, or with the players or coaches or somethin'. That's just like playing the regular season or whatever. The playoffs are a different ballgame. You gotta stir something up, and that's when the real ballers come out. And if you can talk the trash and go out and play your game, everybody respects you. But if you go out there and talk and your game is weak and you don't produce, you gonna get clowned.
Can you win the East this season?
TMAC: Honestly, I think what we have is enough -- especially in the East. It might be a different story in the West, 'cause they're so big out in the West. But I think in the East, that'd be enough to get us over the hump, to get out of the first round, or who knows, compete for the championship. But the key is, everybody staying healthy, and Grant being healthy.
Would you like the chance to play with Tim Duncan?
TMAC: You know, it'd be nice to have a guy like Tim Duncan, but, I just want to get the chance to play with Grant and see how things will work out. So I don't really want to think about playing with Tim Duncan right now. I want to be able to play with Grant, because Grant is my teammate now. I want to see what type of season we'll have, and how far we can go with a healthy team and with a healthy Grant Hill. Who knows? Maybe we would be in the championship next year? Maybe we won't gel together? So, I mean, that's a lot of questions up in the air to be answered, so that's why I want to see what's gonna happen, if he's healthy this year.
Do you feel you had this All-Star caliber game in Toronto?
TMAC: Man, I'm telling you, I had this game in Toronto, man. I was just in a different system, and it wasn't my time to really shine. I wasn't the guy, the go-to guy. I was probably a third or fourth option there. But I've always had this game, it's just all about opportunities. I got the opportunity to do what I wanted to do here, just go out and lead my team. Just have the green light, don't have to look over my shoulder when I make mistakes, just play freely.
Do you feel like the type of player that will lead his team deep into the playoffs?
TMAC: I feel like I'm a franchise player, I feel like it's up to me to take this team how far we gonna go, and it's up to me to make my players around me better. So everybody's really gonna feed off how I react to the game or what my impact is gonna be on a series. So I'm not the guy that's gonna put it on somebody. If anything, I'm gonna put it all on myself. And frustration's not gonna set in because I truly believe that I will get out of the first round. If not this year -- I will get out of the first round, I truly believe that. KG got it hard, 'cause he's out on the West, and the West is strong, man. I know it's frustrating for him, being in that situation, and being the franchise player and not getting out of the first round, you feel you don't have those players around you to help get you out of the first round. Yeah, that's frustrating, definitely. But I'm not the type of guy that's gonna blame anybody else. You just gotta find some way to get over that hump, make your teammates better. You know, just pulling 'em to the side, talking to 'em, tell 'em, If you're not comfortable with doing this, or you haven't done this, you gotta do this.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO SIGN A LIFETIME PARTNERSHIP DEAL WITH ADIDAS?
TMAC: Adidas has always been there for me; they have been loyal in every sense. I really began to know adidas when I was back in High School at Mt. Zion where I established a relationship with Sonny (Vaccaro). From that point our relationship was just all about bonding. I felt like they (adidas) were very loyal to me, and I trusted them. I just wanted to be loyal back. The relationship was there and everything was good, so why break it up.
EVERY ATHLETE DREAMS OF GETTING THEIR OWN SIGNATURE SHOE BUT VERY FEW DO. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE NOT ONLY YOUR OWN SHOE, BUT YOUR OWN APPAREL COLLECTION?
TMAC: It feels good. There is really nothing better than to be out in public seeing little kids and other people wearing your shoes and apparel. It's a great feeling. When we were younger we were one of those kids wearing someone's gear that we idolized. Now it is like people are wearing my stuff, and there is no greater feeling than that.
WHAT WAS YOUR (TRACY) INVOLVEMENT IN THE DESIGN PROCESS?
TMAC: With the first T-MAC, Natalie (Candrian) did everything on her own. I liked it so much that I asked her to follow-up on it and make the T-MAC 2 better. I really did not have much input, I just let her do her thing.
WHAT WAS YOUR INITIAL THOUGHT WHEN YOU SAW THE T-MAC 2 FOOTWEAR?
TMAC: When I saw the T-MAC 2 for the first time I thought they were better than the first T-MAC. I really believe that it is going to be another hot year for adidas and T-MAC 2. I just believe that they (T-MAC 2) are going to be a better seller then the first T-MAC.
WHAT WAS YOUR INITIAL THOUGHT WHEN YOU SAW THE T-MAC 2 APPAREL AND ACCESSORIES?
TMAC: When presented with the apparel and accessories I really felt that adidas was coming up. Before we just really didn't have many colors, so I gave some input into colors that I really wanted. My input into colors and what I wanted for adidas is just going to help both apparel and adidas grow.
WHEN LOOKING AT THE SHOE, IF YOU HAD TO PICK ONE THING THAT STANDS OUT THE MOST AS YOUR FAVORITE FEATURE, WHICH FEATURE WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
TMAC: My favorite feature of the T-MAC 2 is the placement of the logo, I love that. Why I don't know. I just feel it stands out on the shoe and is a great place to have the logo.
WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR SHOES, WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR MOST, FUNCTION OR STYLE? WHY?
TMAC: I first want my shoes to look good and second they must function on the court. In order to sell shoes they have to look good. For people who really don't play they are looking more for the comfort and the style. For those of us who use them to play in, they must be able to perform night in and night out. So I look for both style and function.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE NEW T-MAC PRODUCT LOGO?
TMAC: I think it is nice. The Chinese look is something different. I have never seen a logo like it before.
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE MUSICAL ARTIST?
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE MOVIE? IF SO WHICH ONE?
TMAC: I would have to say my favorite movie is Scarface. I am big into Mafia movies.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE ACTOR AND/OR ACTRESS? IF SO, WHO ARE THEY AND WHY?
TMAC: My favorite actor would have to be Chris Tucker. I just really like his style. As for actress Halie Berry. She just does a great job of playing her roles.
WHEN WE ARE GROWING UP WE TEND TO SAY I WOULD LIKE TO MEET SOMEONE FAMOUS. WHO WAS THAT PERSON FOR YOU AND WHY? HAVE YOU MET THEM? IF SO, WERE THEY EVERYTHING YOU EXPECTED?
TMAC: Magic Johnson. I just felt like he was a great basketball player. I know everyone else liked Michael Jordan and Larry Bird, but I always wanted to meet Magic because he was 6'9", had a lot of heart and he did not play above the rim. I just thought his play separated him from other players. I met him for the first time when I was in high school. Magic was exactly what I expected: he was cool and very down to earth.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU'RE NOT PLAYING BASKETBALL?
TMAC: Chill. I hang out with the family, travel, sleep and just relax.
IF YOU COULD PLAY A ONE ON ONE GAME WITH ANY ATHLETE, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
TMAC: I would play against Michael Jordan because of his competitiveness. I played against him both my rookie year and this last season. The first time I was intimidated because it was MJ, the best player in the world and I was just this 18-year-old kid that always liked his game and admired what he did on the basketball court. That first time I played against him I really did not do too well because I was so nervous. After that I was like forget it, everyone puts on their shoes the same way and I just needed to go out and show him that I am not intimidated.
IF YOU COULD ADD, DROP OR AMEND ONE NBA RULE, WHICH ONE WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
TMAC: I would have to drop the 3-second rule on defense. This is a man's league and a man's game. If you can't defend someone without having to play a zone you shouldn't be playing. Once you get to this level it is basically one-on-one, and you have to hold your own.
DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL GAME-WINNING SCENARIO (THREE-POINTER AT THE BUZZER, BLOCKING A SHOT TO SEAL A VICTORY, ETC.).
TMAC: I just ran off 15 straight points to put our team back into the game. We are down by 1 and there is about 10 seconds to go. I have the ball and I am isolated at the top of the key. I break my man down and the defense collapses on me. I kick it to one of my guys and they hit a three, and that is the ball game.
HOW WOULD YOU CATEGORIZE YOUR STYLE OF PLAY?
TMAC: I am versatile player, a player who is not one dimensional, someone who can do it all - pass, rebound, play defense, get my teammates involved, just do it all.
WHEN YOU LEAVE THE GAME OF BASKETBALL WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE BEST REMEMBERED FOR?
TMAC: On the court I want to be remembered as a great player and winner. Off the court I want to be thought of as a great person with a great personality, a humble person.