Most Important News From Erik Spoelstra, Pat Riley at Shabazz Napier Introductory Presser
You get to play with the cheat team.
Yeah, so some days you get a random and it goes straight to the Heat. You're most likely going to win. So we do randoms and I've never had one particular team.
So now that you get to play with a cheat team in real life down here with the Miami Heat, as you were going through this process, I know you were talking about the conversation you had with Pat Riley, but did you envision yourself playing for different teams? Did you think about 'if I'm in this situation this is how I might fit' and if it's Miami how did you sort of view that?
Yeah, that's kind of the idea that goes through your mind because you're not too sure where you're going to go, so I didn't envision myself playing for the Heat. Trying to find my niche and my role that would work perfect with them. You don't really know until you step in and talk with the staff and play with the guys to really find your niche. The biggest thing I've been doing is watching a lot of film on the last couple games the Heat played so I can understand what spots are great for me, being off the ball and on the ball.
Well, you were accustomed at UCONN obviously to having the ball in your hands a whole lot, particularly this last year figuring out the on and off the ball stuff. With this team, the point guard has to do a little bit of both. How do you see yourself fitting into a system like that?
Yeah, it would be quite easy. At the University of Connecticut, we had myself and Ryan Boatright. But when it came down to the last few games in the tournament which a lot of people saw, I was the one controlling the ball because I wanted to have -- I felt like I was the most responsible for whatever happens. Me being the best player on the team, that's what it comes down to. But throughout the whole season, myself and Ryan Boatright would exchange. There would be games where he's dominant or where I'm dominant, games where we're both taking care of the ball. That won't be too difficult, it'll be something I get used to on this level when I go through practices and understanding my teammates are better.
You mentioned watching the film and trying to identify in those last few games what are the spots and the roles you can fill. Can you enlighten the audience as to what are some of the things you noticed and observed, places where you think you can help?
Yeah, one of the biggest spots I've seen is in the corner and the wing. The way the Heat play, so far from what I've seen, is kind of like a two-man game on one side and three guys on the other side and you kind of rotate. If the ball goes inside, you rotate up to the top of key. It's just various the ways they use their offense and their versatility with one of the best players in the world along with two other great players and a great supporting cast. You just gotta get used to it by going into practice and getting to know your guys, and at the same time making sure you watch film of yourself within practice and also how the team reacts to certain situations, whether it's tight or you're up 20 points. You gotta get a feel for those type of games.
Shabazz, you were introduced today with No. 13, which are some pretty big shoes to fill down here. Actually, one shoe to fill because Mike Miller, who last wore that, was a very popular player and known for not needing both shoes sometimes to make three-point shots. You also at the press conference talked about why you picked that number. Can you go into that a little bit on the air?
I didn't really know that would be a big number to fill because I kinda forget. I'm not really good on the history of NBA and guys who play where but I know Mike Miller is definitely a great talent. The reason why I picked it is because in college I picked my number based on my mother's favorite number. Everyone knows the story of me and my mother and our relationship so definitely that was one of the biggest reasons. I was trying to figure out whether I should go with No. 5. To me, No. 5 represents family to me, but the way I thought about it was if I pick 5, I don't want people thinking I think I'm just within in the big 3, you know, so both numbers cause a little controversy. I just picked what best represented somebody who's been my motivation my entire life. Picking 5, I think would have sparked up some controversy, like he thinks he's already in the big 3 and stuff, but that's the reason I picked No. 13 -- I represent my family and my mom as well now the Heat organization.
Shabazz, I think a lot of people hope you're within the big 3 in some regards, which means they're back here, but you mentioned your mother too and I wanted to get to that a little bit because you mentioned that people know the relationship between you and your mother. Your mother basically raised you and your siblings by herself. Can you go into a little bit about what growing up was like for you?
Like any other single parent, whether it's one child or four children, it's always tough. It's one of the toughest jobs in the world if not the toughest and hats off to all the single mothers. It's just a special feeling to know that throughout my many years, my mother has always been my supporter from the good times to the bad times. Growing up not knowing a lot of things: Not knowing if the light was always going to be on, or whatever the case may be because it's always tough having that one parent brining in all the money. And my mother was unable to bring in tons of money, so it was definitely challenging but she always made it worthwhile. She always understood and made us understand there would be better days tomorrow. If the window was closing on that day, she always told us the next day the open should be open. That's how I looked at it and how my family members looked at it and you know, it kind of made me who I am, someone who's always prepared for any opportunity, someone who's always had a chip on their shoulder and wanted to work hard. At the end of the day, I understood what basketball could bring financially to my family.
You mentioned some of those struggles -- you used the opportunity of the Final Four and the platform to talk about some issues with college athletes. You had the quote about being sometimes hungry at night. Do you think you've fulfilled your services there as an advocate for the betterment of conditions for college athletes?
Yeah, I mean I wasn't trying to be, I was just speaking to the question at hand. I think I'm done with that, it got a lot of public response from it and I felt like it kind of got out of hand. But things happen for a reason so I'l looking forward and just pushing ahead. If they need me to be an activist for college basketball, it's something I'll look into but I'm just focused on getting ready for the upcoming season.
I know your family has some background from Puerto Rico. There was some talk of you participating in world championships or something like that. Is there any thought to that?
I'm just moving ahead right now, I haven't thought too much about that. I was able to go down there during my sophomore year to go work out with them guys down there and it was definitely fun, but I never played in a tournament because of school reasons. Eventually, though, I think I will.