My mentality was to be the best player I could be.
I wasn’t really into fraternizing with other players, such as trying to make friends with players and working out together.
The era in which I was playing — my college years and the early years of my professional career — was before social media was a big thing. So it was, mostly, in-person or nothing.
There would be times that someone on my team in a recreational league or such, and facing an opponent who had played somewhere overseas or the G-League, and I would have teammates playing, as we would say, “like bitches.”
What I mean by that is, my teammates wouldn’t really go as hard as he could at this “known” player because my teammates wanted to be this other guy’s friend due to his status. After that same game, my teammate would be in this guy’s face, trying to make a new buddy — asking where the guy works out, or what leagues they play in, etc.
This shit used to piss me off. I never liked seeing that, even when i didn’t know the players who were involved.
You just let some score 30 points on you, and now you’re trying to work out with them next week and be their buddy??? I never really understood this. I was never this type of player. It didn’t matter to me who was on the other team.
I was never the type of player who, after the game was over, was looking to follow other players on social media or exchange numbers or ask players where they work out at. I would have players who would tell me where everyone works out together at such-and-such place every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:00, for example.
I didn’t give a f**k about that shit. I’m never showed up to those.
I was never inclined to work out with other players; part of my mental edge was to stay mostly to myself because I was trying to beat everybody else — not team up with them.
I wasn’t the “team-up” type. If i was going to be part of a team, it was gonna be my team.
But that was me, and my era different era. These days, you’ll still hear the analysts, many of whom are retired players who played 10, 20, 30 years ago, lamenting that the players these days are too friendly and cool with each other. But we live in an era of “like” — this is a collaboration-friendly, cool-with-each-other generation.
Not a bad or good thing — just what it is.
For me, it was just about winning — being the best that I could be beating whomever was in front of me, and if I lost, then coming back and beating them the next time. If that game or competition had to play out for 10 years, so be it. In the long run, I just had to win that competition against any players who became a target.
Anywhere that I played, even if I played in the same place repeatedly against the same people over and over and over again, I never concerned myself with being cool with everyone. I had teammates who were that type, so they could be the friendly ones.