Andre Iguodala Interview
Philadelphia 76ers rookie Andre Iguodala has looked terrific since the day he put on an NBA jersey. He had a solid preseason, averaging nine points and almost five rebounds per game. And in the regular season he's been starting and getting nice minutes thanks to versatile offensive skills and impressive defense. InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner met with Iguodala in Madison Square Garden for an exclusive interview.
InsideHoops.com: Going back to Arizona, what are your favorite moments, or favorite feelings about the entire experience, either on or off the court?
Andre Iguodala: It's mainly off-the-court things. The team had such great camraderie among the guys. We always hung out. Every day, if we looked forward to doing something we just called a teammate, whereas now, guys are older and have families to tend to, and you're not really as close to guys as you were back in college, and that's the kind of thing you miss the most about it.
InsideHoops.com: Sounds like what a lot of people go through, from the college life to the real world.
Andre Iguodala: Yeah, it's a lot different than it was. Pretty much focusing on individual things, things you have to take care of in the household, because now you're living on your own and have to take care of your own responsibilities.
InsideHoops.com: Back in college, how far in advance did you know you were going to declare for the NBA?
Andre Iguodala: I never really thought about it. It was always in the back of my head, but I never really took it that seriously until the season was officially over. Then I thought about it and the opportunity was there, so I went after the dream I always had.
InsideHoops.com: During the actual season you weren't really focusing on it?
Andre Iguodala: Pretty much. I think the only time I really thought about it was the first game. I had an ok game, but we had a loss, and I was frustrated the whole night. After that, I said I had to get my mind off it and just focus on basketball. After that I just went on and played the season as best I could.
InsideHoops.com: So, ironically, it was a negative thing at first that made you think about jumping.
Andre Iguodala: After that I said, just focus on the season and try to get through it. Work hard every day; it's going to eventually come, just have to be patient and focus on the college season.
InsideHoops.com: Did you know who was going to draft you, going into the night of the draft?
Andre Iguodala: We pretty much knew it was going to be like two teams, and Philly was one of them, so we weren't amazingly surprised when it came, we were just happy that we got drafted.
InsideHoops.com: What was the other team that you thought was going to take you?
Andre Iguodala: It was Phoenix, and they traded their pick, so it came down to just one team.
InsideHoops.com: Oh, yeah, Phoenix traded their pick in advance, didn't they?
Andre Iguodala: It was the day before, yeah.
InsideHoops.com: So at that point, you knew you'd probably be a Sixer.
Andre Iguodala: So I pretty much knew how it was going to go.
InsideHoops.com: And how's this all been?
Andre Iguodala: It's been pretty good. I've been having a lot of fun; a lot of guys say it's tough to have fun because you're not going to get that many minutes, it's going to be different than when you were in college or high school. So far I've been having a lot of fun. The team's playing pretty good. We've had a couple losses, trying to get back on track now.
InsideHoops.com: As for actual basketball skills, anything you're working on right now in particular, lately and all season long so far?
Andre Iguodala: Shooting the ball consistently. Staying in the weight room, keep getting stronger, because guys in the league are strong. And just being aggressive every time I'm out on the court.
InsideHoops.com: You know that writers love to compare players. And the guy people compared you with even before you came in the league has been Scottie Pippen.
Andre Iguodala: Yeah, I've been getting that every since I was young. I've always been a long player. I've played a lot of positions on the court, so I've been getting that a whole lot.
InsideHoops.com: And what do you think of the comparison?
Andre Iguodala: Can't go wrong with it. He's one of the 50 greatest players, maybe top 25 greatest players of all time. And he impacted the game so much. He did everything well, he shot the ball well, he could rebound, he could pass, and he was a six-time NBA champion, so if you're compared to anyone close to that, you're going to be pretty amazed. Hopefully I just get a small taste of what he got when he played in the league, which was an NBA championship.
InsideHoops.com: You're here as Allen Iverson transforms from a shooting guard into more of a point guard. How's that going, and what have you seen?
Andre Iguodala: It's been great. He's leading the team in points and assists. He's doing his job; he's scoring, which is the thing he does well, and he's getting everyone involved on the team, which shows signs of a great leader. He's been doing a good job just getting everyone involved and helping me out with the transition from college to the NBA, and it couldn't go any better.