Hey wassup? It’s Thanksgiving week and personally I have a lot to be thankful for. Basketball has impacted everything in my life. It helped me get a free education from one of the best universities. Now playing in front of 20,000 live and millions of people on TV, I’m financially stable so I can help my friends and family. There’s lots of stuff that I’m so blessed to have. Basketball has opened so many doors, it’s even brought my family together – my mom and dad divorced when I was three, but they’ll sit next to each other to watch me play. It’s meant so much more than words can express.
In last week’s Bulls game, I almost had one of those “want to get away” moments at the Staples Center. I had the ball stolen off me, totally clean. But as the defender headed up the court for an easy lay up, I knew I was going to block that shot whatever it took. Luckily, I caught up just in time — plus I have a 43-inch vertical — and I swatted the ball away. Not in my back yard!
Nothing is for sure in the NBA, even when you start 11-1. It’s been good for us so far. We played some good ball against the Bulls, followed by the Suns and Nuggets back-to-back last week, and then we beat the Kings on Sunday. But it’s got to continue. We slipped up against the Pistons earlier, because we didn’t play the right way. Every game is a tough test, because people are gunning for us. We’ve got a target on our back, we are the Western Champions, they want to beat the Lakers, so they want to bring their best against us.
Speaking of the Bulls, we got to see their exciting rookie Derrick Rose, who is also repped by my agency WMG. The NBA’s first pick out of Memphis, he scored in double figures in his first 10 games, the first Bulls rookie to do it since, guess who? Michael Jordan in ’84-‘85. He’s going to be a great player…strong, athletic. The Bulls invested in him, so they’re going to let him play, have a chance to succeed, play through failures. When you have that opportunity and are as good a talent as Rose, the sky’s the limit.
Of course, I still follow my college team UCLA. Playboy had the Bruins at number six in their preseason Top 25. They had an early bump, losing in an upset to Michigan in the 2K Sports Classic. That prevented them from playing Duke in the final. But it was an early season wake-up call, to let them know they’re not as good as they think, that they have to continue to work hard. IMO, they’re going to be extremely competitive. I think they’re going to control the Pac-10 again and go deep into the tournament. It’s a matter of how fast the young fellows come along and start playing at a high level.