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Tony Massenburg Interview




/ Oct. 16, 2004

Tony Massenburg, of the San Antonio Spurs, has played on almost half of the NBA's 30 teams over the span of his 15-year career. editor Jeff Lenchiner met with Massenburg in Madison Square Garden to talk about NBA changes over the years, and bouncing around so much. How has the NBA game changed over the span of your career? On offense, and on defense.

Tony Massenburg: Offensively, they've taken out a lot of one-on-one isolations, which sometimes I guess can make the game a little bit boring, to see a bunch of guys on one side of the floor and two guys on the other, basically going one-on-one. So I think with the zone, that's changed that up a little bit, allowing everybody else to stay involved from a defensive standpoint. Defensively, with the zone rules and the amount of time you have in the key, you have to make some adjustments there. I think overall, the game has been changed for the better. It allows everybody to be involved, and it emphasizes more team than individual. You've bounced all around the league; how many teams have you played for now?

Tony Massenburg: Twelve. I mean, but I did do three ten-day contracts. I had like four teams in one year, my second year. I have moved around a lot, needless to say. Do you remember your second year clearly?

Tony Massenburg: Yeah, actually I was here (with San Antonio) my second year, and I got released I think in January or some time around there. Did three ten-days with Golden State, Boston and Charlotte I think it was. So that's four teams in one year. Next two years I played in Europe, and came back and played a year with the Clippers. Went in the expansion draft to Toronto the following season. Got traded from there in February to Philly. New Jersey the next year. Vancouver for a couple of years. Houston for one year. Got hurt in Houston and only played about ten games. Went back to Vancouver for a couple of years. Then Utah, Sacramento, there you go. It's obviously a compliment that when you and one team part ways, there's always been another team that wants to grab you.

Tony Massenburg: When you've been doing it after 15 years, you must be doing something right. People aren't going to just keep passing you around if you can't bring anything to the court, so. There are a lot of guys that have played on a lot of teams that haven't played 15 years, so, it's just a part of hte business, that's how I look at it. Over your years, did you buy new homes, thinking you might stick around somewhere for a while?

Tony Massenburg: No, I don't buy homes in the places that I play at, most of the time. My home is in Maryland, that's where I live, regardless of where I'm playing, that's my home. Everywhere else I just rent where I play. Aside from the San Antonio Spurs -- so, you don't have to name your current team -- what's been your best experience so far in the NBA, either in a game, a season, a place, anything.

Tony Massenburg: The unique thing about my seasons, about my career, is that I've had really good years in the places that I've been. The problem has been a lot of those teams that I played for where not winning teams. So, when your team doesn't win, you don't get as much credit. Nobody does, I'm not saying it's just me individually, but people who don't win a lot of games, people who are on bad teams don't get looked at the same as guys who are winning games. I hope to win a lot of games here. We won games last year in Sacramento. We won games in Utah, the year before that, so I've kind of gotten acustomed to winning, and so I don't really compare all my experiences to be good or bad, it's just you try to make the best of each situation that you have, and that's what I think I've been able to do, each year. I think that's part of what's kept me around. And as for this team now, how's it been fitting in, playing with Tim Duncan, seeing him in practice, etc.

Tony Massenburg: Tim's great. He's got obviously a very high skill level. As a big man, he's a superstar. What I've seen is what I've come to expect. I've known Tim over the years, going back to when he was a rookie. And I've worked out with him in the summertime, and I see how hard he works to try to get better. So when I see him doing things, on the other team or now being on the team with him, nothing that he does really surprises me, because I know the type of player he is. We're focused on winning, this year. Trying to win a championship. Anything else is sort of pushed off to the side, because I think everybody is focused on that.

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