10/22/2010 - 15:24
Working Out, Building Up and Giving Back
We're getting ready to start another year here in Dallas, and I couldn't be more ready and motivated to get going.
We want to win a championship and that's the ultimate goal. For me, that's about building on what I did last year. Even though I might be a year older, I just want to have a good year like I did last year. I spent this past offseason working on just being physically ready and working on my jump shot.
Going to the rack against Cleveland (Getty Images).
I've been working on my outside game a lot. Hopefully I can improve, shoot the ball a little bit better this year and that'll make the game much easier for my teammates. One point of emphasis for me was the pick and roll. Being able to knock down jump shots coming off the pick and roll is really important in this offense.
At this point in my career, I'm fortunate enough to join some of the all-time greats on some of the most prestigious lists in basketball history. Honestly, the thing about it is I've been lucky. To have some longevity and just being in the right place at the right time with great teammates has produced success. I've been blessed with a talent that I've never taken for granted. I enjoy playing the game each time I take the floor.
HOW WE STACK UP
Things got interesting in the NBA this offseason.
A lot of players went east, so that will definitely make the Eastern Conference a hot topic. What happened down in Miami, that's a big buzz. They have a good team there. But I think the big thing that maybe some people are forgetting is the champs come out of the West with the Lakers. They're the team to beat.
For us, we have a good team and we're deep. We have a lot of veteran guys with a mix of young talent, so we have a chance.
Our owner Mark Cuban is the best. He wants to win. Mark is our biggest fan. He's by far the best owner that I've played for and the blueprint of a great boss from an employee's standpoint. You can see it in his concern for us and in the way he treats his players. It's different than a lot of other owners.
He works hard and he's in there with us working. He's a guy that gets on the stairmaster and shoots before the game. He sets the tone and tempo for his guys; he's out there working hard and we know we should be too. The biggest thing he asks from us is to play hard.
He brings a lot of emotion and he's always there cheering on his guys. But the biggest thing is he wants to win. That's what drives him. He loves the game of basketball and chooses his players very well. He went out this summer and got us two players that are going to make us a better team.
With Tyson Chandler coming in and our rook Dominique Jones here, and then having Brendan Haywood, Caron Butler and D-Stevenson here for the whole year, it's definitely going to help us. Those guys are veteran guys and I think that presence for a full season is going to help us a lot.
The big thing with Tyson is, he changes the game. He's athletic and knowing that he's a guy that plays above the rim and he can block shots and he's a vocal leader for us, he becomes the anchor of our defense back there. That definitely helps the game and it becomes a lot easier.
Dominique is going to be a good player in this league. He just needs some minutes under his belt to understand the game and I think this preseason he's had a great preseason. He just has to build on it, become a sponge and try to absorb all the information that's being thrown his way.
With rookie Dominique Jones (Getty Images).
Of course, we also happen to have one of the best players in the league, Dirk Nowitzki, and I'm glad he's back. Dirk is an easy player to play with. With him on the floor, you just find the open guy. He always wants the ball in his hands when we need a basket, but he also makes the game so easy for everybody else because he draws so much attention. It's just a matter of being able to knock down the shot when it presents itself.
HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION…
I spent some time after the season at Team USA training camp in Las Vegas before the guys went off to the World Championships. I was just there observing, but I was very honored that Coach K invited me out to spend some time with him and see what the coaching side was all about.
It was nice to see the young guys contributing on that team. We have a lot of talent in the NBA but also in USA Basketball with a really young team going over to the Worlds. I was pleased to see how hard those guys worked in the summer and how well they played over there.
Those guys kind of got some harsh criticism after what we did in 2008, but they are NBA players and they can play at that level. They're some of the most talented players in the world and showed that.
I also did a lot work with my foundation this summer. We worked with Northern Light School in Oakland. It was a great opportunity for me, going back home and helping out a school that was in need.
It's really important for me to give back, especially to where I came from. I've been blessed in my career playing basketball and I have the opportunity now to give back. To give a kid that same opportunity that I had back at home, that's all I can do. I feel obligated to do that. Hopefully I can help a kid become a professional basketball player or make a difference somewhere in the world.
For now, the focus shifts back to basketball. Hopefully we've got a lot of Mavs fans reading the blog and hopefully you'll follow me throughout the year. We'll be fun to watch, so stay with us!
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