The Miami big man tells us why three is better than one…and why success is more than just stats.
When you, LeBron, and Dwyane Wade started talking about playing together last summer, did you even consider the huge target that would be on your backs?
Of course. Listen, Jordan, Pippen, Magic, and Bird had the circus following them, too. Every time they went on the road, the crowd was one of the biggest sells of the season.
The teams we play are giving it their best game of the year. But if you’re a ball player, you want that. Every kid on the playground, when they think of themselves shooting the last shot, it’s Finals Game 7. It’s the most extreme experience you can think of, and why not have it if you have a chance to attain it? Why not at least try?
Why did you choose to be the third star in Miami when you could be the premier player on almost any other team in the league?
I just want to be on the team that wins. In the long term your success is defined by winning. I’ll give you two great examples: Pau Gasol. In Memphis he averaged 20 and 10.
But nobody ever really recognized how great he was until he got with the Lakers. Now all of a sudden he’s the superstar. He played his butt off every night in Memphis, but the team didn’t win. And Kevin Garnett—he was the first guy I’ve ever seen to not average a crazy amount of points but be considered for the MVP award just based on the presence he brought to Boston.
But he’d been doing the same thing for 10-plus years in Minnesota, where he wasn’t winning. You help the team, and the individual success will come, regardless of your personal stats.
What’s the worst nickname you guys have been called?
The Three Amigos, I mean, come on. And the Big Three. You can’t call us the Big Three; Boston already has the Big Three! We’ve been trying to think of a name with a little Miami flavor. There’s gotta be some Spanish in it. It’ll come.
Both you and LeBron played on undefeated high school teams. Ever talk smack about whose team would win if you guys played each other?
You know, we never did. They had a unique situation because they had the same success we had—undefeated, number one in the polls, and everything. I don’t even know if he knows. I’m sure that’ll come up one day. We’ll be here for a while.
You’re kind of a nerd, right? In high school you were in the National Honor Society.
Yeah. I’ve always been a nerd. I love to read, and I’m really into computers and technology. I’m constantly on tech sites like gizmodo.com and lifehacker.com. I love to figure out how things work.
You recently appeared in Entourage as yourself. How did that come about?
It’s one of my favorite shows, and I actually met [creator] Doug Ellin. We were just hanging out, and he invited me and my fiancée to the set. We hung around for a while, and the next day he wrote us in.
So after your playing days are over, do you want to act?
I mean, I’ll dabble. I’ll definitely give it a shot.
Is anybody showing you the ropes in Miami?
I know where to go, man. I know the ropes. In Miami it’s not about what you know; it’s who you know.
You’re one of the league’s snappiest dressers. Have you adopted Miami Vice whites? Has your style changed?
It’s a fashion-savvy city. You can dress up, dress down. It’s loose and you have a lot more options. I’ll do anything but loafers!
How do you get psyched up before the game? Is there a certain jam you listen to?
No. I’m at the point now where I don’t really need music to get myself amped up. All I need is that basketball court and an opponent. That’s my playlist.
What’s the best piece of advice a player has ever given you?
My man Darrick Martin taught me how to be a professional. You show up on time, you know your job and do it to the best of your abilities, and you don’t make excuses. And whatever
it is you help with, you make it better than what it was when you got there.
Why did you lose your dreadlocks?
It wasn’t easy. I just felt that change was imminent, and I wanted to symbolize that. I wanted a fresh start. Whether I stayed in Toronto or moved somewhere else, I wanted to move to a different chapter in my life.
So it’s win now, worry about your legacy later? After we win championships, my legacy will be defined. But at the same time, I think “legacy” is more than just basketball. You know, this job is something that I’m going to be doing only for a very small fraction of time on this Earth. I want people to be like, “Oh, yeah, he was pretty good
at basketball, wasn’t he? I forgot about that.”