Dime stopped by the Seattle Pro-Am this weekend and sat down with the NBA’s reigning Sixth Man of the Year, Jamal Crawford. A Seattle native, Crawford has been the face of the Pacific Northwest’s premier summer league event, which features NBA stars and local high school and college players.
Crawford is one of our favorite interviews here at Dime, and this weekend he dished on a number of topics such as the ongoing Donald Sterling saga, his top five basketball movies of all time, the origin of his patented shake-n-bake, coming off the bench, his fear of flying, and much more.
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Dime: What does the Pro-Am mean to the people of Seattle after losing the Sonics? Does it help fill the void?
Jamal Crawford: I remember when I was sixteen years old, and I was playing in Doug Christie’s Pro-Am, and I was one of those high school kids that got an opportunity to play. My first couple of games, I didn’t do so well, but I finally got the hang of it, started playing a lot better, and my confidence grew knowing I could play good against pro players, and guys who were older than me. When I got back to high school, it would be easier. It helped me, and I never forgot it, and Doug, when he got older and further into his career, he was like I want you to take it over. It was kind of a natural progression since I was already a part of it. Now, I think, the league is more important that we don’t have the Sonics anymore. Seeing all these pro players – me, Zach LaVine, Isaiah [Thomas], Blake Griffin – you know, guys they wouldn’t normally see. Seeing these guys up close and personal, Blake and Kevin Durant and Kobe, it speaks volumes to them.
Dime: As the Donald Sterling saga drags on, Doc Rivers, Blake, and Chris Paul have all said that they would boycott if he’s still owner at the beginning of the season. Is that a consensus you all came to as a team?
JC: Yeah, we actually talked about it when it first came up. We felt like, at that time, we had worked so hard to get to where we were, you know. We’re not playing for him. We’re playing for each other and for our families and for the city of Los Angeles, so we decided to play. Obviously, it was a distraction, but we tried to manage it the best we could.
Dime: What was the mood like in the locker-room after the scandal broke?
JC: It was crazy. We had just had a film session. You know, we’re supposed to be worried about Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. It’s like, if you want to be a better shooter, you can work on your jumper, or ball-handling, whatever it may be. There’s not a manuscript for dealing with something like this. You kind of learn on the fly, and I think that Doc did a masterful job of helping us through it.
Dime: You’re someone who’s relatively active on Twitter, and a lot of NBA players in general are really into social media. Why do you think Vine and Instagram, etc. are so popular?
JC: I didn’t understand it, honestly, at the beginning. You know, nobody wants to know what I had for dinner. But there’s some people that I’ll never get a chance to meet, fans of myself and fans of my teammates who are active on Twitter. Twitter, for me, is truly for them. I wouldn’t have Twitter if it wasn’t for them. I’m not that important, but being able to interact with somebody that’s in Paris or in Idaho or wherever, I may never get a chance to meet them, so it’s really cool.
— Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) July 10, 2014
Dime: A few players have received a lot of backlash – J.R. Smith, Carmelo Anthony, etc. – for things they’ve said or done on Twitter that may have been inappropriate or off-color in some way. What’s your rule of thumb when it comes to keeping it cool?
JC: For me, I think you just have to take an extra second. I can’t speak for none of those other guys. It’s their Twitter, so they can say whatever they want. That’s the cool thing about Twitter, but for me, I always want to be positive. I always try to take an extra second to think about it because I don’t wanna have to delete or erase anything, so I try to take my time and think it through a little bit.