Q&A: Jose Calderon

Posted by Unknown on Sunday, October 19, 2014 with No comments
Courtesy of Steve Serby 

Q: Is there anybody in the NBA now you think is similar to the way you play?
A: For me, kinda like in my mirror was Steve Nash. I think to be able [to be] like him, to be good on offense and score points but get everybody the ball, get nine, 10 assists per game, I think that’s the point that I like. He’s a guy I always look at videos and then always look the way he was playing.
Q: What’s your mentality on the court?
A: I just try to compete. That’s all. There’s gonna be faster guys, stronger guys, but you just gotta give effort. It’s not gonna be your night every night. It’s 82 nights, it’s impossible. You just gotta give your 200 percent, and if it’s not good, OK, Coach is gonna sit you on the bench.
Q: How would you describe your style as a point guard?
A: I’m a team player. I’m a pass-first point guard that tries to get everybody involved. I feel like a coach when I’m on the court. I just see basketball as a team sport.
Q: Your former Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said this about you: “He’s a giver. He makes other people feel real good about their games.”
A: Yeah, that’s what I say, I just try to get everybody comfortable. I just try to get them involved in the game.
Q: What have you learned about Carmelo Anthony as a teammate?
A: I’ve seen what I expected. He’s a great, great player. He really wants to win, he really wants to help each other, try to get everybody on the same page. Him with us as us with him, and that’s good.
Q: Is the triangle a good fit for him?
A: I think so. I think for a good player, every system is a good fit. He’s a great player, great players play in the triangle that were maybe even better players at that time, but you never know what’s gonna happen with Michael [Jordan] or Kobe [Bryant] without the triangle, I don’t know, this is different. But he’ll fit, he’ll play great, he’ll help us win a lot of games.
Q: Why will the triangle be beneficial for him?
A: Because of everything, I think, because of the way the system works, I think it’s gonna be beneficial for everybody. For instance, it’s the spacing, it’s more movement, see what the defense give us. He gonna have tons of shooting places … so he’ll be good and comfortable, and us too, the same way.
Q: You’re perfect to play with for a superstar.
A: I think for sure I’m gonna try to get them the ball a lot, that’s important, and I gotta feel comfortable with you. I think my ability to shoot the 3-point shot as well is gonna give him even more space … my defender, he can’t go to help too much … OK, you’re gonna help, I’m gonna give the pass for my teammate, like he’s gonna hit a 3, and the other way around. It’s gonna take time, but we’re gonna be all right.
Q: Is this system going to be good for J.R. Smith?
A: Like I say, I think everybody’s gonna be good for this system.
Q: You played in Spain with Pablo Prigioni.
A: He’s a great friend of mine. Our families are close, great to have him here. He’s gonna help me a lot, and he’s gonna help my family as well.
Q: Describe coach Derek Fisher.
A: It’s been weird at the beginning, I’ve been playing against him last year. But the best thing about it is how confident he look. He look like he’s been coaching for years now.
Q: What do you remember about him as a player?
A: He always play hard every night. You know he was ready to compete.
Q: Your defense has been one criticism.
A: It’s always gonna be something, and I know I’m not the best defender in the world, nobody [has] to tell me that, that these guys in this league, they’re great, they’re quick, they’re strong. Just gotta try to be smarter, pick your spots. Yes, I cannot guard some of those guys. Some nights you’re gonna have a 5 who is a greater scorer, some guy’s gonna be a point guard. What I know what I can do is I’m gonna give 100 percent every night, and I’m gonna follow the plan and I’m gonna go with that until the end.
Q: How did you get to be such a good free throw shooter?
A: It’s repetition. That’s the only one you got no defense, that’s the only one you’re by yourself, and it’s the same one all the time.
Q: Have you met Spike Lee yet?
A: Not yet. But when I was in Toronto I played all the games in the [Garden], and he’s always there talking to me.
Q: What did he say?
A: It was just random stuff, sometimes he asks me about what is my soccer team, just being polite. When you cross with a guy so many times, at some point you gotta stop and talk.
Q: What was it like sitting on the bench with a thigh injury as Spain lost to the United States in the 2008 gold medal game in Beijing?
A: You know what? I think when you’re part of the team and you’re on the bench, I think you’re still part of the team.
Q: But the game was close. Did you say to yourself, “I wish I could have been out there, maybe I could have made a difference?”
A: I always try not to think about that, because you never know. It could be better maybe, it could be worse, too. It is what it is. It’s tough, you’re never gonna be able to see what happened. It could go either way.
Q: What was it like standing on the podium getting the silver medal?
A: ’08, I could say, it was great. 2012, it wasn’t that good. Why? Because I thought, or we thought, we could get the chance to win. I think the first one was already like we knew U.S. was almost invincible. You’re mad because you lose, but at the end of the day your insides say, “Hey wait. I got a silver medal. This is big enough.” Like got a silver medal in Olympics is something not a lot of guys can do. In 2012, now you’re mad. Maybe now, I’m talking to you here and now, “Yeah OK, I got another silver medal, I’m really happy about it.” But at that moment, it wasn’t the same as ’08.
Q: Do you hope to play again for your country?
A: Well, we’ll see. I always go step by step. I don’t know what’s gonna happen in one week or two months or when the season’s finished. Thinking about something next summer, a lot of things can happen.
Q: When you play in the Garden, there are Spanish fans cheering?
A: Always. Always there’s gonna be that Spanish flag out there every time in New York.
Q: Describe your oldest child, 4 ¹/₂ -year-old Manuel.
A: I think he’s the only one who can see his dad playing and understand what’s going on. The other two are too little, they know his dad goes out of the house traveling and plays basketball, but they don’t realize yet.
Q: Jaime (2 ¹/₂) and Goncalo (4 months). What is fatherhood like?
A: I could say the best thing that happens on my life kind of. I think it changed everything. I think now your approach is a very different way. I think you’re always gonna think of your kids first. Everything you do is, “OK wait, can I do it, how do I do it, what the kids are doing, how are they gonna feel doing it, do we gotta travel?” I think everything is around them more than before. Before it was just you and your wife or whatever, now it’s them the first thing you gotta think about.
Q: How did you meet your wife Ana?
A: We’re from the same little town in Spain.
Q: How did you propose to her?
A: It wasn’t nothing huge. We were living together already because we wanted to try before to get to the next step. It was just in a restaurant. Between waiting for dessert I went to the bathroom or whatever, I grabbed my stuff from my jacket, and that’s it, that’s how I did it.
Q: What happened to Spain in the World Cup?
A: I don’t know, it was weird. I don’t know what it was, they didn’t look like they were themselves. It felt like there was something missing there.
Q: Describe tennis star Rafael Nadal.
A: Great guy, normal guy, regular guy. What he’s been doing is unbelievable, but the next thing about him, he’s just him.
Q: Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
A: I think he’s a different kind of an owner. He really enjoy the team every day. Every day he’s there.
Q: Dirk Nowitzki.
A: Great teammate, winner. Every day he just think about work, about win.
Q: Favorite coach?
A: Look, I enjoy with everybody. I always say about coaches, it’s tough to choose one. Yes, you feel maybe more comfortable with one [than] another, but they all teach you something. They all give you something to be a better player. I think everybody gives you something you’re gonna use later in your career.
Q: What was your boyhood dream?
A: I don’t remember, because you know what? When [I was] 13 years old, I got signed for my team in Spain, so I didn’t have time to have a great dream. I maybe wanted to be a police, or astronaut or something like that when you were like little little. But 13, you’re still so little, and at that time I gotta go and say, “You want to go play basketball somewhere else.” I’m not like, “OK yeah, let’s go.” You don’t think about it, and I think now, after that, is when you realize, “OK, maybe that is my dream now, let’s try to make it all the way to the NBA.”
Q: Boyhood idol?
A: For me it was my dad. My dad used to play basketball, the way he teach me everything.
Q: What drives you?
A: Try to get better every day, try to win, I think is important. Because you sacrifice a lot in this sport — family time and friends, a lot of stuff just to be a professional player, and sometimes from the outside, we only can see the best part or the good part, just going out there and playing, oh that’s nice. But it’s just a lot of time you gotta put in to get here.
Q: How about winning an NBA championship, do you picture that?
A: Oh yeah, a lot of time. A lot of time. And I hope I got opportunity to here. I know we got a lot of new things now going on, but I think we’re on the right path.
Q: What is the closest you’ve come to an NBA championship?
A: Just first round of the playoffs in Toronto twice, and Dallas last year. That was the closest.
Q: Do you own a hog farm?
A: No (laugh). It’s a business. Where I’m from is where the Pata Negra is. I sell those hams, but I don’t own the pigs.
Q: Best NBA game?
A: I would say my best one was the day I played my first game. Now is when you really are making that dream we talk about before come true.
Q: Describe the video tribute for you when you returned to Toronto.
A: Amazing. It’s something I [am] always gonna be remembering. Yeah, it was a great, great moment.
Q: You almost cried.
A: I was close. I always say no, but I know inside me, I was like pretty close (smile).
Q: What do you want your Knicks teammates to say about you?
A: I’m a good guy and a good teammate, professional. That’s all you can ask for.
Q: What is your definition of a good teammate?
A: Maybe just that. Be professional. Be on time, work hard every day, try to help your teammate, look for the team first. If you do that, everybody’s gonna respect you.
Q: Hobbies?
A: Movies, travel, I love that. Right now, my hobby is spend time with the little ones. Now I can do less of the other two.
Q: Superstitions?
A: Not really.
Q: Didn’t Kevin Garnett pick a fight with you one time?
A: We got into each other once when we played, Toronto-Boston. Now we are good friends. We never take it personal. I think after that, I think we respect each other even more.
Q: Two dinner guests?
A: I never met him before, but maybe I could say I could have dinner with [Derek] Jeter. I never watch baseball at all, but I read really good things about him, so maybe I could have a chance to talk to him once. … It could be [Nelson] Mandela. I think he did a lot of good things for the world, and for humanity.
Q: Favorite meal?
A: My ham (smile).
Q: The Knicks have not won a championship since 1973.
A: I knew that yeah. It’s weird because it happened something similar with me when I was in Toronto with the hockey team with the Leafs. It’s one of the best team ever, but now it’s been a lot of years too without, but it’s like I say, still everybody’s gonna respect the Knicks. It’s about time to do the right things, and hopefully we are in the right path. Yeah, it’s a long time, but it happens. Maybe you get one, and get three or four in a row.
Q: What message would you send to Knicks fans about what kind of team they should expect to see this year?
A: I think they’re gonna see a team. I think that’s the most important part. I think we’re gonna be together, I think we’re gonna play the right way. We’re gonna show we care about the Knicks. You gotta play for the name you got in the front, not in the back. I think the fans are gonna respect like if you lose a couple of games, if you play together, if you play hard, they respect that.
Q: Is it fun to be the quarterback of a basketball team?
A: Yeah it’s great. I think it’s a tough position as well because it’s not easy to get all the guys happy at the same time, there’s only one ball.
Q: How do you deal with that when guys start grumbling about not getting the ball?
A: “I’ll get you next one (smile).”