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InsideHoops NBA [HOME] Oct 11, 2003

Latrell Sprewell Interview


 and the New York and Minnesota media gathered around Latrell Sprewell for Spree's first interview in Madison Square Garden since being traded from the Knicks to the Minnesota Timberwolves this summer. Questions are from various reporters. is the only place you'll find the complete interview from start to finish.

Question: How's Minnesota treating you so far?

Latrell Sprewell: Good so far. Really good.

Question: How's it feel coming into the building today?

Latrell Sprewell: Like I'm at home. It always feels good to come back here. I love New York... it's just nice to see a lot of familiar faces.

Question: What are your first impressions of your new team?

Latrell Sprewell: Very talented. Great coach, X's and O's-wise, we're learning a lot of new stuff. A lot of new stuff for me to learn. We're just a talented team trying to gel together.

Question: Do you feel reinvigorated

Latrell Sprewell: Yeah, definitely. Sometimes change is good. Although I didn't want to leave. When I was put in a situation where I'm going there, you have to look at the team and the possibility that hey, we can probably do some good things over there. So, I was disappointed, but when I found out I was going to Minnesota, and Sam was there and they signed Olowokandi, they put a lot of good pieces around KG, so, it's a great opportunity for us to do something good if we can stay healthy.

Question: Do you feel less under a microscope there than here?

Latrell Sprewell: Definitely. Yeah, definitely. I feel that, they're so much more laid back. So much tension around here (in New York). They (NY) want to fine you for every little thing you do. Over there, Kevin McHale, I feel like I'm talking to someone I know. It's just a total different atmosphere.

Question: There were so many rumors over the years, were you surprised when a trade finally happened?

Latrell Sprewell: No, I wasn't surprised. Not at all. It was just a matter of hoping that I would be on a team that was pretty good, and fortunate for me, that happened.

Question: It seemed like you tried to let the Knicks know it was important to you to be a part of the team and New York. Did you try to address it with them directly after the problems at the start of last season?

Latrell Sprewell: We addressed everything then. And, I said it last year, when we had that meeting, I think it was one of the better meetings that I've had with those guys, because I was honestly able to say everything I wanted to say, and I pretty much aired out the dirty laundry. So from that point on, I thought all of that was behind us.

Question: Are you surprised and do you find ironic that the Knicks finally got some size?

Latrell Sprewell: I don't care (laughs).

--- NBA Section - Interviews ---

Question: It's an eclectic group, wouldn't you say?

Latrell Sprewell: We can say. I'm just happy to be a part of the Timberwolves organization. From top to bottom, facility and the management now, like I said, Kevin McHale is great. Just being there, having him in practice, being able to talk to him, Flip (Saunders) is great, it's just a different atmosphere.

Question: Do you see yourself becoming more of a defensive presence this year, since Garnett and others can help a lot with offense?

Latrell Sprewell: Well, I'm still going to have to go out and score, but defensively hopefully I can make them a little bit better. Sam is there, Sam has been playing well, he has been doing great in camp. I just want to do the same things there that I was able to do here - be a team player and go out and help the team in any way I can.

Question: Are there still frustrations or bitterness towards the Knicks?

Latrell Sprewell: Towards the Knicks? ...who are you speaking of?

Question: You had made some comments indicating frustration...

Latrell Sprewell: I'm not frustrated, I just felt... the comments that I made... I just felt like Dolan didn't like me. That's what I said, so. It's nothing other than that.

Question: You said there was always a lot of tension, how was that expressed to you?

Latrell Sprewell: I just meant as far as coming to the games on time; it was just like I was under the microscope, every little thing, it was like they were looking for me to come in here with my shoes untied.

Question: And how different is that from other teams?

Latrell Sprewell: Well I forgot how different it was because I've been here for about four or five years. It's a big load off my shoulders now. Now that I'm there, I'm like, man, I can breathe a little bit, you know?

Question: How long do you think you'll feel attached to New York?

Latrell Sprewell: I'll always feel that way. I love New York. A part of me will always be here. What can I say. The upper management I probably don't care about too much about, but from the coaches on down I have no problem with anybody.

--- NBA Section - Interviews ---

Question: How long will you keep your house here?

Latrell Sprewell: I plan on keeping it.

Question: After the problems last year, did you think the Knicks were going to take the first opportunity to trade you?

Latrell Sprewell: I don't know. Who knows. What can I say. I'm not going to speculate on what they were thinking.

Question: How about the difference in competition between the West and the East?

Latrell Sprewell: The West is really loaded. Size-wise, especially. They got all the size over there, and the teams are really good, so, I think night after night you're just going to have to be ready to lace them up and be ready to play. The teams out there are really good.

Question: Do you think the missing ingredient for Minnesota was the aggressiveness that you and Sammy bring?

Latrell Sprewell: Well, I definitely think that myself and Sam will help the Timberwolves. You guys know the way I play. And what's so ironic is, KG is the same way. I'm looking at him in practice and going, "Wow, I'm always that guy," you know? And for the first time in a long time, I'm playing along somebody that has that same energy and fire and plays pretty much the same way I do. So, that was just nice to say.

Question: A major contribution you made to the Knicks was getting them fired up and aggressive.

Latrell Sprewell: I think was able to do a lot of things here. I think that was one thing I definitely brought to the table, my aggressiveness and my style of play, and I think that's one of the reasons why the fans here really appreciated the way that I went out and played, just because I think they kind of liked that.

Question: Where will they get that now?

Latrell Sprewell: Not my problem, I don't know.

Question: Are the Lakers the team to beat out west?

Latrell Sprewell: Yeah. It's like an all-star team, you know? They're loaded. They're loaded, we're loaded, it should be fun.

Question: How's your Achilles?

Latrell Sprewell: It's just a little sore. I'll be fine.

Question: If this was a regular season game, would you be playing tonight?

Latrell Sprewell: Oh yeah (laughs). They'd have to put me in a cast.

Question: What are you expecting here, when you do play here, from the fans?

Latrell Sprewell: I think it'll be an emotional day. It'll be exciting for me, mostly it'll be exciting for them. I'm not going to get to come here a lot, so, it'll be a special day, hopefully.

Question: When other players have come back, like Ewing, Starks and Oakley, it was really emotional. Do you kind of feel like you're in that grouping?

Latrell Sprewell: I don't know, that's saying a lot, I guess we'll have to wait and see if I'm in that category.

Question: When you think back, how important will it be that the Knicks gave you the opportunities they gave you?

Latrell Sprewell: Oh, very important. The opportunity that I had to come here, I mean, this is a place that is either going to make you or break you, and fortunately for me I was able to do well here, and it really did great things for my career and now hopefully I can go out there and continue to do what I did.

Question: How important is it to you to be in the right situation again?

Latrell Sprewell: I think it's very important for me, I'm 33 years old now. I really want that ring. I got a taste of it here. I know just one thing is those guys, KG and everyone, they're hungry. They want it bad. Sam's the only one that's had that, has the ring. Other than him, everybody else over there, we want it bad.

Question: If you were a free agent, and you could pick between a winning situation in New York or somewhere else, what would you pick?

Latrell Sprewell: I don't know. That's a tough call. It's a tough call. It would be hard to leave, that's for sure. So, it depends.

Question: Was it hard to come back?

Latrell Sprewell: No, it's easy to come back. That's easy.

Question: Find yourself going the wrong way, to the locker rooms?

Latrell Sprewell: No... no... no.

Question: Have a ticket for Calvin Klein?

Latrell Sprewell: Oh, I don't know if Calvin Klein needs tickets. Hopefully he won't be pulling at my coat on the sidelines or something (laughs).

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