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NBA All-Star Interviews: Saturday Night




/ Feb. 20, 2005

2005 NBA All-Star Weekend is in Denver, Colorado. Saturday, February 19 featured the Slam Dunk contest, three-point shootout and other events. Below are some interviews about the results.


JOSH SMITH, Atlanta Hawks - After winning dunk contest

Q. How much advice did Dominique give you going into this? Did you receive some from him?

JOSH SMITH: Yes, when I got chosen, Dominique helped me a lot. He was just telling me that start with my good dunks early and just come out with a lot of enthusiasm. He helped me along the way.

Q. When did you guys decide to take the jersey off and put Dominique's jersey on, and talk about the origin of that.

JOSH SMITH: Well, I kind of surprised him with that. He didn't know I was going to do that, but I was going to do a dunk symbolizing what he did in his previous years. I did that and he was real excited and shocked that I would do that.

Q. Can you talk about, did you watch Dominique before, growing up, or see any footage of him and what he's meant to you as a mentor, if at all?

JOSH SMITH: I grew up watching him.

He's been a mentor. He was good all over the place. He had post-up, jumpshot and just getting his teammates involved. He was a real big person in my life to follow.

Q. You guys talked afterwards; what did you say to each other?

DOMINIQUE WILKINS: Those are trade secrets, we can't give those away because we're coming back next year. (Laughter).

Q. After you saw Nash and Amare's dunk, throwing the ball off of Nash's head, did you worry a little bit? Did you think you have to do something to top that? Did it psyche you at all?

JOSH SMITH: Yeah, it did. That was a good dunk by Amare and Steve, and I knew I had to pull something out of my hat, you know, to get by and win.

Q. Did you decide to go with the Dr. J, the Dominique, was that your idea to honor the legends in the home of the dunk contest here?

JOSH SMITH: Yes, it was. I had a little help, though, but I knew I was going to do a tribute dunk for Dominique.

Q. What did you think of his whole performance from beginning to end?

DOMINIQUE WILKINS: Well, you know, he was talking about after he won, him, you know, filling my shoes. But he has his own shoes now. He don't have to fill anybody's shoes. He shocked me with some of the stuff he did.

I think the whole jersey thing kind of made everybody a little nervous. Like I say, he shocked me with that one. That was outstanding.

You have to give Amare credit because the dunk he did was pretty nice. That's pretty hard because it's a timing dunk. But Josh, I think his athletic ability really shows well, especially on television, a crowd, you have everybody anticipating something outstanding coming. He didn't let them down. I think he exceeded far more than what they thought he could do.

Q. There's only two ways that that dunk could have gone, sheer glory or true embarrassment, were you ever scared at one point?

JOSH SMITH: No, I knew I had the dunk all along. When I came down here on Thursday, I worked on it and I was confident in making that dunk.

QUENTIN RICHARDSON, Phoenix Suns After winning the three-point shootout

Q. So, things are going pretty well for the Phoenix Suns, huh?

QUENTIN RICHARDSON: Yeah, definitely we're getting off to a good start for the All-Star.

Q. That last rack, you knew you had to make those to stay in it, what were you thinking?

QUENTIN RICHARDSON: Man, I was just trying to calm down just trying to make them. I actually didn't know if I made 19 I was going to beat him, I thought I was going to tie. I didn't find out until I sat down.

Q. Did you feel good going into the final round?

QUENTIN RICHARDSON: Yeah, I was glad, you know, to make it to the second round because I wanted to do so much better than I did in the first round.

Q. Any prediction on the Slam Dunk contest?

QUENTIN RICHARDSON: (Amare Stoudemire) All day long, all day long.

Q. How does a guy throw up an air ball in his first shot in the three-point finals and win it? QUENTIN RICHARDSON: The third round I was shooting a little too hard, so I tried to shoot it soft and I shot it a little too soft it. Wasn't a big deal. I got it going.

Q. At what point did you know that you had to hit all of them? Did you know on those last two racks that you needed to hit nine in a row?

QUENTIN RICHARDSON: I didn't know for sure but I knew if I wanted to have any type of a chance, I had to make all of them.

Q. Did you and Joe finally settle on a bet? Did you make a bet before the event? You hadn't yesterday.

QUENTIN RICHARDSON: No, we just had a little smack talk. He knows if I won, I was never going to let him live it down, like ever, unless he beats me in a different one in a different year.

Q. Are you going to let Joe take a look at the trophy or borrow it or anything?

QUENTIN RICHARDSON: No, it would be like Andy Roddick on the commercial, I have to buy me an extra seat on the plane because they're going with me.

Q. Was that just like one of those zones in the game that you get in?

QUENTIN RICHARDSON: Yeah, I was just trying to focus in coming around down the stretch. I knew that I had to make them and it was a situation where I knew I had time on the clock because I shot so quickly in the first couple of racks. So I just tried to slow down and really concentrate on those and take my time.

Q. It's been a good year for the Suns obviously, and you making the transition from L.A, what does this mean to your season?

QUENTIN RICHARDSON: I mean, this is just -- I think this is just perks for us.

These are just bonuses in us having a great weekend, having a good time and I think it's a tribute to us playing so well together and us being so unselfish with each other, because that's why we are where we are now.

STEVE NASH, Phoenix Suns After winning the Skills Challenge

Q. Are you going to take yours to Majerle's and make a collection for Phoenix?

STEVE NASH: He can have it, I guess. We need to cut the top off so we can put beer in it if we take it to Dan's.

Q. Phoenix Suns are represented pretty well so far, you must be proud?

STEVE NASH: Yeah, it's fun. We even got Thunder Dan back in the swing of things.

It's great for the organization. This year has been really exciting for all of the fans, coming out and really getting behind us. I think that was a really important thing for the organization this year.

Q. Did you do any preparation or just go out?

STEVE NASH: This morning, you know, we did a bit, but I've been struggling a little bit lately, so I didn't want to really run around and do something. So just kind of figured out that bounce pass and then let it go.

Q. Just try to put a little pressure on Q and Joe?

STEVE NASH: Well, I felt the pressure because I expected one of them to win. I expected Amare to win, so I felt like I might be the weak link. It was nice to get it out of the way.

Q. Have you told Pop that you want to only play a certain amount tomorrow?

STEVE NASH: We're going to see how I feel tomorrow and see how it goes. If I feel like it's a good idea not to play too much, Pop, he's great, he'll let us do whatever.

Hopefully I'll feel fine and really have a good time.

Q. What's wrong with you, what is ailing?

STEVE NASH: I've had a little hammy for about three weeks almost, so it's just kind of getting worse and worse. Yeah, that answers your question, I think.

Q. Second question, a bunch of your teammates yesterday were mentioning you for MVP honors, the early leader in the clubhouse. I know you've said before, your teammates do such a great job that you don't want to take a lot of credit, but is that still nice to hear, like guys from Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O'Neal?

STEVE NASH: Unbelievable. I don't know if I was blessed with the same gene pool as those guys, so for me to be in the position that I'm in is a lot of fun. It's extremely flattering and humbling. You know, I have so much respect for those guys, just to be mentioned with them, let alone by them, it's amazing.

DAN MAJERLE, PHOENIX - After winning Shooting Stars competition

Q. Obviously you spent a lot of time on this winning strategy. Can you talk about that?

SHAWN MARION: I said we were going to win.

Q. I heard you.

Q. How much did you attribute to...

DAN MAJERLE: I contribute it to Diana starting us off right, and obviously making a long one pretty early helps, but I think we shattered the record?

SHAWN MARION: Yeah, by 21 seconds I heard, hey.

Q. Were you guys that fast in practice?

DIANA TAURASI: Actually we were slow in practice, what did we get, 42? We were slow.


DIANA TAURASI: Which still would have got first.

Q. How much fun was it?

DAN MAJERLE: Oh, it was a blast for me, just to be back. I haven't been in an All-Star Game since '95, so it's good to be back and see everybody and see the events.

I've got my two little ones here, so they are going to have a blast. It was great for me.

Q. How much did it compare to that shot you hit against the Lakers in '92 '93?

DAN MAJERLE: Doesn't compare at all.

DIANA TAURASI: This is a lot better, huh?

DAN MAJERLE: As soon as I get that check, it's going to be a lot better.

Q. Were you surprised you still fit in your uniform in?

DAN MAJERLE: That's a low blow, but I think they gave me Charles' (Barkley) old uniform because this is really big on me, a lot of room in there.

Q. What were you guys thinking, you all said before you went out there to win, but did you realize you were going to it do this quickly?

DIANA TAURASI: During the run-through we were serious about it. I mean we wanted to win it.

DAN MAJERLE: I thought we had a good chance because all three of us can get the ball at the basket from half-court. Seriously I think if I didn't make it, one of these two would have made it right behind me. That was the biggest thing because all three of us could have made that shot, and that was the key to it. Plus we know we have a lot of Phoenix people here for the All-Star Game, and we wanted to start it right to represent Phoenix and we have a few people in the Dunk Contest, and the 3-point shootout and the Skills Challenge. It will be good to see Phoenix do well.

SHAWN MARION: We'll win them all. I ain't playing.

Q. What do events like this add to the whole All-Star Weekend? And what does it mean in addition to the game?

DIANA TAURASI: It's just fun for the fans come out and see us go out there and fun and not in serious mode like they see us in game time, so we think it's great for the fans. At the same time we joke around with Magic, Dan. For myself, I grew up watching them play and now Shawn. It's a great experience for myself.

Q. Is that a shot you perfected in practice back in the day?

DAN MAJERLE: No, I've always had pretty good range so that's a shot that has not bothered me at all. I was surprised, the second one went in because like I said I haven't been shooting at all, so it's not like I'm in very good shape.

SHAWN MARION: Man, don't believe that. You've been shooting, playing pick-up every other week.

DIANA TAURASI: I see him at the Phoenix Y.

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