Hakim Warrick Interview
Congratulations on your contract with the Bucks. What offers did you get from other teams?
I got offers from Boston, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Golden State and Denver, besides Milwaukee.
Why did you turn down offers from teams with a better chance of winning, like Cleveland?
Well, I think I play better with extended minutes, and I wanted to have a chance to really play to my potential. I want to play well, and I think that means playing more.
In this situation with a lot of young guys on the Bucks team, what kind of numbers do you think are realistic for you this year?
I don’t worry about the numbers. You know, in Memphis I showed that I can score, and do a lot of different things on the court. I’m trying now to focus on rebounding, and I think I can get 7, 8, 9 rebounds a game with good defensive rebounding.
Well, besides numbers then, what goals do you have for the season?
Well, I think Most Improved Player is one, and a shot at the playoffs is another goal.
Have you played with Brandon Jennings yet? What type of player do you think he can be?
I haven’t played with him yet. But I’ve been watching him for a while. The first time I saw him was at the ABCD camp two summers ago in Philadelphia. I knew then he could be a special player. This year isn’t going to be easy for him though. He’s playing the toughest position to learn as a rookie. But he’ll have guys like Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut on the team to help him out.
You have the ability to play both forward spots. What position do you feel most comfortable playing?
It doesn’t really matter to me. I care more about playing an up-tempo style. I like the fact that I can play both spots. One thing for me is to be able to guard threes [small forwards]. I talked to coach Scott [Brooks] and will allow me to play both, to get more playing time. I’ll do whatever I have to do to help the team.
Who do you play with normally during the summers?
I played with Carmello [Anthony] a couple years a go, and I play with guys over in Vegas, but mostly I’m playing with Philly guys: Kyle Lowry, John Salmons, top players from colleges in the area.
Who are your close friends in the league?
I’m friends with my old teammates, Rudy Gay, Kyle Lowry, Carmello - who I played with In college – and Ray Felton, who I work out with in Chicago.
Think back now to your first basketball memories, when you were young and it was just a game. What memory comes to mind from that time period? Tell us a story.
Oh man. That’s a tough one. Okay, my first dunk in a game. I was about 13 or 14 years old, and I went up off two feet and dunked with two hands, but then I came down and I fractured my wrist. I came down and was a little off balance, and landed wrong. But I did make the dunk.
Which NBA player did you imitate when you were a kid?
I was always a big NBA fan. I patterned my game after guys like Penny Hardaway – he had lift, and speed, but he also had a post game and quickness. I watched Kevin Garnett too, you know, guys with my skill set, who were long and fast.
Tell us about some of the charity and community work that you’re involved with. Which has been your favorite or most memorable experience? What kind of community work would you like to do more of in the future?
I did a lot in Memphis. I’ve done the Stay in School Challenge, and I gave a bunch of computers to my old elementary school, and I’ve given backpacks. I like being involved with education and I hope to help a kid with a future scholarship.
What do you think of Josh Childress and some other notable NBA players going to Europe to play for bigger contracts? Would you do this? Are most NBA players thinking about Europe as a possibility, or is that just a lot of talk?
Some players are willing, some are not. Some can’t handle it. Josh can handle it. He went to Stanford, and he’s been around a lot of cultures. I don’t think I could handle it. I want to be with the NBA competition, you know? You can’t get higher than that. I mean if it was double or triple the salary? I don’t know. It’d have to be like double or triple, but I don’t know. I haven’t gotten those offers.
Thanks for talking today. Is there anything else you want fans to know about you, anything you do besides basketball?
Uhhm, not really... Oh! Yeah, I’ll be online. I’m on Play Station 3 and I’ll be on Madden online if anyone wants to find me for a challenge.