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I think that my God-given physical attributes, big hands, and big feet, the way that I’m built, proportion-wise, just made basketball the most inviting sport for me to play.

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There’s the typical books, Moby Dick and, I guess in my adult life I began to read biographies more than fiction. I started to want to relate to other people’s lives, things that had really happened.

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So much of becoming a good athlete involves bringing other things to the table, other than physical skills. It involves intelligence, it involves many of the things that you learn during the process of being educated. How to analyze, how to assess, how to equate, how to reason.

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I grabbed 19 rebounds in my first professional game, and somehow found a way to score 20 points. I felt real good about it. I felt that this was the beginning of something good.

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Many people think sports are totally physical, that you don’t have to think, everything is done for you and you’re catered to, I found that to be so far removed from the truth that it’s almost a joke. The ones who become stars are the ones who have a head on their shoulders and know how to use it.

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My mom is one of 14 children. She’s a great lady. She’s a Taurus. Has been a profound influence in my life, still is to this day. Born in meager surroundings in rural South Carolina.

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And from the first time I picked up a basketball at age eight – I had a lot of difficulty when I first picked up a basketball, because I was a scrub – there were things that I liked about it.

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If you do things with a certain type of result and cause a certain type of reaction or effect, then you increase your market value. It’s very much a competition for the entertainment dollar, and that’s never been more clearly evident than in today’s NBA game.

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In a lot of areas of my life, particularly in my teenage years, I began to think about the world, and to think about the universe as being a part of my conscious everyday life.

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I think I started learning lessons about being a good person long before I ever knew what basketball was. And that starts in the home, it starts with the parental influence.

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Being a typical Pisces, I might have experienced mood shifts, but I don’t remember any depression, or needing to do anything, or to have someone bring me out of being depressed.

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I liked the game, I enjoyed the game, and the game fed me enough, and gave me enough rewards to reinforce that this is something that I should spend time doing, and that I could possibly make a priority in my life, versus other sports.

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When I went to Philadelphia I was 26 years old and really sitting on top of the world. Family life, a professional career, plenty of friends and associates, and a good reputation, a wish list that could be the envy of many.

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When I played, the owners had the power. The prisoners are running the prison now, not the warden. The warden is strong and he has say so but, the balance of power is definitely with the players.

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When I get a chance to power jump off both legs, I can lean, twist, change directions and decide whether to dunk the ball or pass it to an open man. In other words, I may be committed to the air, but I still have some control over it.