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INTERVIEW - CHRIS WEBBER
is quite a year for Chris Webber. He'll enjoy a start in this year's All-Star
team as a forward for the West, and this is the first NBA team he's played
on that has a real chance to go deep into the playoffs. We met up with
Webber the other day and discussed a number of things. Some of this is
exclusive, some is not.
Webber on being distracted by his free agent status: I think
it did distract me the first five games of the season, I wasn't having
fun, I was laboring and trying not to think about it, and when you try
not to think about it, you think about it, obviously. I just had to relax
and let it come... and really, I don't think about it anymore, and we're
having such a good season that it makes it a lot better because its just
fun to be able to concentrate on the games that we're having, and trying
to win every night, so that's really all I can have on my mind. But I didn't
think it was going to be this big of a deal... I just try to stay focused...
usually I can really have tunnel vision when I want to accomplish something
and this year I wanted to come out and have a good year and I wanted us
to win and advance in the playoffs, hopefully all those things will happen.
So, I've just been concentrating on that, and that's been enough to worry
Webber on speaking negatively about the team early in the season and whether
the team has surprised him:
No, it hasn't, actually, the reason why I said some of those things was
to envoke some type of change and to envoke somebody saying, 'well we can't
do it,' and I think that's what it's done; we had to call ourselves out,
we had to become a better team, we had to mature, we have a lot of young
guys who really didn't understand the NBA as far as the process of how
long it is, how you had to come in every night like tonight (vs. the Clippers)
and play this team as if you're playing the Lakers, and so we really had
to be on more of a consistent basis, and I'm really not surprised, I'm
happy about our mental approach, that's been our only problem is how we
approach the game.
Webber on the Kings trying to be a tougher team: That's something
that we're definitely trying to work on, is our toughness, I don't think
we're the toughest team yet, but we got guys like Scot Pollard and Bobby
Jackson to come in and play hard-nosed D and get in you, so that's really
what we need, guys like that.
Webber on the Kings being deeper: I think that's a credit to Doug (Christie)
and Bobby (Jackson); Doug Christie has come in and as far as the guards
really helped our defense our, we have a big athletic guard now that really
can play defense and run the floor and score, and when Bobby comes in it's
not a letdown, he comes in, he pressures the ball 94 feet up the court,
and that's what we need, guys that are not afraid to play defense and get
up in you.
Webber on whether the Kings are elite: Oh yeah, definitely, definitely,
I feel that we don't have to worry about teams as much, they have to worry
about us now, and we expect to win every game we play, and I think we've
proven it with our record and the great teams we've played so far.
Webber on whether the Kings are the right team for him:
It definitely could be the right situation, but that's really something
I don't want to even evaluate until the end of the year, but it definitely
could be the right situation, only time will tell, I do know this is a
great bunch of guys, and the chemistry is some of the best we've ever had,
I'm just happy about that.
Webber on Sacramento as a city and what would get him to leave:
I think it's lacking a lot of diversity, lacking of diversity, but just
as pluses of a big city there are plusses of living in a small city, I
wouldn't say there less distractions because you can find that anywhere,
but you do like the family atmosphere there, not much traffic, those type
of things, so you try to look at the positives of everything, but it's
not one factor that will determine whether I go, it's that, 'oh, I get
to play in a big city, I'm gonna leave,' or 'get to go play with Sprewell,'
it's going to be a thought-out, calculated decision and just a lot of prayer
and take my time and really think about it.
Webber on whether he wants a slower pace of life: I think I'm
definitely on a slower pace, but I'm a single guy and I like to be able
to find a restaurant to eat at after the game and not have to go to Burger
King or something like that, so...
Webber on whether this is his best season for teams he's been on:
... to even win 30 games before All-Star break is something incredible
to me, I've never been able to do that before and I've just been happy
that we could accomplish that, and hopefully we can keep it going, but
this has been a great season collectively, and individually, and I just
hope that it keeps going strong.
Webber when asked about the MVP race: (Laughing) I don't want
to get into that, I don't want to get into that, I'd have to be biased.
Webber on Kobe Bryant: He's definitely one of the great players
in this league, somebody I love to watch, and I love his competitiveness,
and he's not just flash but he works hard and does the basics, and I think
that's what a lot of guys understand in this league, when you get the basics
down and the fundamentals every night then everything else will come, so
I love watching his game, I love watching the things that he does with
the basketball, because those are things that he's practiced, and I really
enjoy watching him grow and in a couple of years becoming the player that
he is, so I definitely have to say that he's one of the best.
Webber on beating the Lakers and whether he'd rather see Kobe keep dominating
the offense or Shaq do it:
I'd rather have both of them on the bench, I don't buy into all that -
who's shooting and who is not - they're both dangerous and when either
one of them has the ball it's a catch 22, anytime those two are on the
court, so, I don't think you can go wrong with those two on the floor at
any time, no matter who shoots it.
IS PART 1 OF THE CHRIS WEBBER QUOTES. PART 2 IS COMING LATER TODAY.
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