View Full Version : Chris Webber: 'I need to be more selfish'

08-02-2004, 10:04 AM
'I need to be more selfish'

Chris Webber speaks out on his injury, his frustrations and that controversial
comment about his Kings teammate - or teammates.

By Martin McNeal -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 2:15 am PDT Sunday, August 1, 2004

Next season, more than any other, the Kings will be Chris Webber's team. Webber says he is looking to take the mantle of leadership this season. He sat down with Bee Staff Writer Martin McNeal. Here is an excerpt of their conversation:

Q: I'll start with the same question everybody else would start with, how's the knee feeling?

A: The knee is better. For the first time, I was able to rest it. I rested it approximately a month and a half to 2 months. From the middle of May to early July.

Q: When you rested it, you were still rehabbing, right?

A: It feels different when I do different exercises. I don't have some of the pain I used to have. And no pain makes for strength, so it's been good.

Q: Is there any way for you to anticipate what you believe your knee will feel like when October, November or December come around?

A: I can guess that it only can get better, so that's good. But I don't want to try. It's too early in the offseason to start trying to think what it's going to be like. Right now, I'm just trying to work and make sure all I can do to get it to be good.

Q: When you look back on last year, what comes to mind?

A: Personally, just frustration, being hurt and another year of not reaching my personal goal of getting to a championship.

Q: In retrospect, how did being booed bother you and how do you assess the way you handled it?

A: I think it's changed my outlook. I think I need to be more selfish. I came back (from injury) in Sacramento because I thought that that's what you do in Sacramento. It's a team, la la la, all the junk that we always talk about. I came back for that reason. I could have collected my check and sat home every day. What advantage did it give me to play? It didn't give me one advantage to play. And today, with big contracts and people being selfish, I tried to be selfish. And forget that, let's go back two years ago when I was telling everybody my knee was hurting. I tore the cartilage and had to have this procedure done. I didn't have to play in the (2003) playoffs. But I did because I love basketball and, ultimately, I do it for myself. But to get booed, that's something I will never forget. And it's not something I'm overly sensitive about, because it happened and it's over. But you don't forget something like that. I've been a lot more loyal to Sacramento than a lot of other players have been for their team. And for me to get booed, that really told me a lot about what's real and what's not.

Q: After the last game of the season, I asked you a question about looking back and thinking about what most stood out being with the team for the past five or six seasons and not getting over the hump. What did you take most from this experience? And your answer brought back crazy-heated reaction.

A: I'm from the 'hood, and we used to love playing the local preparatory school because our lives in the inner city, economically, the drug dealers we saw, the people we saw getting murdered, gave us a toughness in life. One where we're living for other people and that no day is promised. Basketball is real serious to me. The people that I've played basketball with and I have respect for in the game from Chris Mullin to (Latrell) Sprewell to Kevin Garnett to Tim Duncan to Jalen Rose to Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace, who I've played with. You can say whatever you want about them on the court. Off the court, they are good family men and on the court, they take care of business. They have more pride in themselves than they do in the team. And that's what I want to play with, guys who have more pride in themselves than they do in the team, because when you have more pride in yourself, then you're going to do the team in better justice because you want to be seen in a positive light. And on our team, the problem has been that we're so happy-go-lucky. Coming into Sacramento, I knew I was going to be the bad guy. But my voice got drowned out. And anytime you have guys showing up five minutes before practice in the playoffs, something is wrong. And what I mean by those comments, those who do not work as hard as me, I do not want to play with. You can take that to mean anybody you want it to take. If you do not shoot (extra) before or after practice, I don't want to play with you. If you're always out of shape, I don't want to play with you. If you don't care when we lose and you're always giggling and laughing, I do not want to play with you. If you're giggling before the game, a Game 7 before we play the Lakers, and you're giggling and laughing and (bleep) is funny, I don't want to play with you. If you think because you're in Sacramento and because people like you that you're a better basketball player than you really are, I don't want to play with you. And it's that simple. Peja (Stojakovic) is a hard worker. Bobby (Jackson) is a hard worker. Doug Christie is a hard worker. Mike Bibby is a hard worker. Anthony Peeler was a hard worker. Let me think, so I don't leave anybody off who I think was a hard worker. (Darius) Songaila definitely is a hard worker. And that's the only thing, if you don't take care of your body, how can you play this game? If you don't do this in your off time, and really there is no offseason like Alonzo Mourning said, there are just stretches of time maybe when you don't work as hard. I remember Bobby was saying that I should name names. Well, he's one of the guys who works hard, and that's why we laughed when we read whoever wrote the article about me and him not getting along. … Perception is reality, but not when you're part of that reality that really knows the deal. And it's no coincidence teams call us soft. You think teams get together and make it up? Basically, I'm just frustrated. I want to play with players like me. I want to play with dogs. I want to play with role players who will do their role. Nothing more than their roles. I want guys to come to practice on time or early when we have to do things. Our locker room has been too lax for me … for the results we're getting. Now, if we would have won, I would live with it. I tried to live with it. But there needs to be a renewed commitment. Doug and I gave this passionate speech, we're crying in the damned locker room, before the first playoff practice and I have a meeting with everybody and we felt then that we were not prepared for the playoffs. … Doug and I had that passionate meeting, but I felt it was falling on people who were too cool. People who were scared. People that won't talk junk. People that won't make a challenge. It's that simple. So everybody wants to know what I said? That's what I meant. If I'm going to lose, I want to lose with players that it's an honor to lose with. Straight-up. If you do not work hard, do not come around.

May 19, 2004 - Here's what Chris Webber said after the Kings' Game 7 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second round of the playoffs:
"Whether you're going to be in a start-up company, whether you're an entrepreneur, whether you're gonna be in sports, no matter the occupation, always go with the ones that are the hardest workers and that, when your backs are down, they're the ones who will step up. Don't go with the ones who just flow through it. Go with the ones that it hurts them to lose. Go with the ones like Doug Christie. Go with the ones that'll give everything and be the scapegoat for your company, for your family, 'cause those are the ones that will really put their all into it. It's really easy to disappear in tough times. And the true character of a person, I think, is your effort and your mentality when you don't know how things are going to turn out."

Q: Most people thought you were referring to Peja, but you've already said he is a very hard worker. So, who were you referring to?

A: I'm the first one that said (Peja) was the best shooter in the league. … I pumped Peja up. If there is anything I'm good at, it's being an encourager. Players that play around me play better. … I'll make a grape feel like it is a bottle of wine. And (Peja) is Napa by himself, so in no way am I referring to him. … You're going to miss shots. You're going to make shots. That's not it. That's why I said it's all about preparation. And Peja shoots. He shoots a lot. He practices a lot.

Q: So, there should never be a question about whether he is prepared?

A: There is being physically prepared and mentally. A lot of teams are more mentally prepared than we are because they want it more. They have a chip on their shoulders. We don't have a chip on our shoulders that we had three years ago. It's a comfort zone. … I've been fortunate enough to play on terrible teams where you win 13 games or been fortunate to want to be an All-Star and got beat out by a guy like Matt Geiger. So I still have chips on my shoulder and still want to prove that I'm the best. And I think that will help the team. … I don't have to be a leader in front of the media to be a leader in the locker room. … I told the team, "I've gone through twice as much as most people personally," and there is definitely a hunger in me that I want (a championship). I just want to be someplace where I can win, or where all the efforts are together. And if anybody in the organization that reads this has a problem with it, just come talk to me. … Anybody on the inside that knows this team … knows we have a fun, relaxed attitude, which if you are winning, it's cool. But we haven't won, so it's time to change something.

Q: How do you go about changing that? Does that have to come from the coach?

A: All I can do in the locker room is be a different guy. I'm not there to be everybody's friend and to joke around. I'm there to win.

Q: You've talked before about guys coming in late to practice.

A: Or not even late, which we do, just on time, before the playoffs. It ain't no way. It ain't no way, you're a starter and you don't shoot after practice. It's no way. There's no way you're a big man and I've never seen you touch a weight. It's no way … and you've got to check (Shaquille O'Neal). It's no way. It's just preparation.

Q: Now, that sounds like Vlade (Divac), but it also could refer to Brad Miller …

A: Everybody has their own style, so, this is my opinion. Vlade is definitely the best big man I've ever played with. I have no problems with him or going to L.A. I think it was a great decision, financially, for him and he's at the end of his career. I love Vlade and I will always love Vlade. And I'll always be his biggest supporter. … He was not the reason why we were losing. He was great in the locker room. But now that Vlade is gone, the team is going to take my tone.

Q: You could love Vlade but still not want to play with him because of the way he goes about doing his thing. Is that true?

A: You've got to respect people in different areas of their lives. And I respect Vlade as a man and a person. Whether some respect him as an athlete or working hard, I can't speak on that. But as a man and a person, I'll speak on it. But now that he's gone, the team is going to take over my personality or I don't care. Then leave or don't touch the ball or something.

Q: Do you still see this team as capable of winning a championship?

A: I always feel any team I'm on can win. I think any player should feel that way.

Q: But I mean, you could be on a team, without (Miller, Stojakovic, Christie, Bibby, Jackson and Songaila) and it would be nice for you to feel like that, but nobody else would feel like that. Most people still are going to say you're still capable of winning a championship, but you feel the adjustment needed to be made to take the next step will have to be a mental adjustment.

A: I think it's two things. It's a mental adjustment, starting with me, not caring about the perception of me or how I interact in the locker room. I think one reason why some teams have been so good, say the Lakers, is because everybody just does their job. On our team everybody is getting the freedom, but with freedom comes responsibility. And if you are not responsible with the freedom you are given, either don't play or go to another team. … We don't have anybody that's just willing to come in and take a charge. We don't have anybody that just wants to (defend) everybody besides Doug. We don't have role players that just do roles. We have guys who are so talented they can do everything, so they don't focus on just one thing. … We need guys just to do roles. I think it starts with that action and it starts with me in the locker room. I know the attitudes that Bobby and Doug have. I know how half the team was serious and half wasn't, and it worked because some guys needed to be calm. But you'd better believe my attitude, along with Mike, Doug and Bobby's will rule the locker room this year. And it starts with me being a dog every day. From the way we go about it in practice each day, the way we talk junk to each other in practice, how we talk to each other before games and things I've talked to them about being ready. They all agree 100 percent. As long as we have that this is the way it is now, we'll be OK. Because there is going to be a change. … I'm just tired of losing, so I really don't care what anybody says or anybody thinks. People want to know what I think? I'm back to the way I was when I first got to Sacramento, mentally. I tried to be nice. I tried to play all these nice little political games. Now, it's all about winning. That's what I was brought here for, and that's what I'm going to try to do.

Q: It sounds like you guys have to challenge each other.

A: That's what I'm saying. I'm challenged every day by Bobby, Doug and Mike. I'm challenged by them every day. Whether they are talking junk to me about why I wasn't there early to lift or why I lift after practice or is Doug giving me bath salts or doing research for me on my knee. We challenge each other all the time. That's what I meant when I (answered your question) at the end (of the playoffs). … I'm tired of being the protector. I want to be protected as well. I've always played on teams where I've had another big dude, a mean dude with me. And I love Brad. Him and I are real cool. I mean I've always had another jerk. And either someone else is going to step up and do that or I'll have to do double. It's funny, they dogged Shaq in the papers for naming names. Then I hear people want me to name names. What the hell? I'm not going to name no damned names. I'm not going to embarrass no man. But I made a comment so they would know. I challenged them for over the summer. People who I'm talking to know. And the people who think I'm talking to them and I'm not, then they need to look at themselves anyway, just to make some type of change, because then they must be speaking honestly to themselves.

Q: You said this spring you had quite a few business plans going on in Sacramento that you'd stopped at one point. What were they and why did you stop them and is that where they stand now? I think one was building on your house.

A: Yeah, I was adding on to my house. I wanted to live there. Have kids there, stay there. One thing I'm not going to do is say something to have my butt kissed by the public, or obviously I wouldn't have came to Sac saying I was leaving. When I told people I liked Sac, I liked the fact that it's in between Tahoe and San Francisco. I can go on the weekends. It's close to Napa, and I love wine. All these different things contributed to the fact that I've made it my home, so I was building. But just the way that this year happened, I just stopped because I felt I didn't know where I was. I mean, was this Sacramento? This is the place players told me not to come and (the treatment) was the reason why they told me not to come.

Q: Because you got booed?

A: Put it like this. A lot of people said, "I told you so," when all that happened. And I think more than anything it hurt me because it made me look stupid. More so than what it did to me, it made me look stupid to those people who I talked to. … The consensus was, you're only in the drivers' seat once, leave! Because when you don't, you'll get screwed. I never felt like that, but it did touch me enough that I stopped the work on my house. I also had a big project I wanted to bring to Sacramento. It was a $30 million project, just in case I do it, I don't really want to talk about it.

Q: It had something to do with recreation and kids, didn't it?

A: Definitely. I'd met with the city planners. I met with … business leaders in the Sacramento community from places I frequent, restaurants, hotels, clubs and manufacturers. I stopped it, but I have renewed them. I want to bring business to the community. I want to have places for young adults to hang out and eat. Not that they aren't doing it, but I just want to help speed the pace.

Q: You've been finding out about the moves made by the team like everyone else?

A: Yes.

Q: I would guess you would prefer to have management ask you what you think?

A: Uhh, you know, you can't complain. (President of basketball operations) Geoff (Petrie) has done a great job, so what are you gonna do?

Q: And his thing is he doesn't talk to anybody about the things he does?

A: And he's proven. It's not a thing where you want somebody to consult you. If somebody is going to be playing (with) you, I think people … like Shaq and others, just want to know first. Like I said, how could you not just trust Geoff blindly?

Q: Right now, he has two spots left, (for) frontcourt players most likely who will be making minimum money. I don't think there is a backup to Peja. Is there anybody in mind you'd like to see backing up or a style of player?

A: I'd just like to see an aggressive defender at the three spot. Peja's rebounding went up this year. He did a great job. So when he comes out of the game, if we have another guy who can rebound and defend, that's good. But just a role guy.

Q: So you feel it's really important for guys to accept their roles? What will your role be on this team?

A: Mr. Everything. Do everything. Rebound, defense, score, lead the team, get assists. That's my thing. I'm just going to try and be a stat stuffer. Make sure my assists and rebounds are always up.

Q: When you move, do you feel like you had surgery?

A: Not now. During the season, I felt like that all the time. I felt like that in my sleep. I felt like it when I woke up and when I walked. After practice and after a game. And now I don't feel it at all.

Q: Bobby says he heard he was going to get traded to Charlotte. Is that just part of the business?

A: Everybody hears rumors. That's nothing new. Everybody on every team hears that. I heard rumors me and Mike were getting traded. Bobby was getting traded. We have a lot of talent, so we could be traded to get a lot of guys. You're going to hear rumors. … I heard people were talking about me about everything. I hadn't talked pretty much all year, but I did want to answer what the "voices of the world" were saying out there. I heard somebody said I said I wanted to play for the Lakers. That's a freak'n lie. First of all, I don't want to play for L.A. Second of all, I never volunteered my services to play for L.A. I don't want to play for L.A. That's the enemy. When I was a free-agent, if I wanted to go to L.A., I'd have gone to L.A.

Q: How do you deal with Rick (Adelman)'s coaching style and is that something you believe is going to have to be altered for this team to get where it has to go?

A: I've been in coach's corner all the time. We're both frustrated. I'm frustrated in losing and I'm sure he is. But as far as does he have to change, I don't know. I'm not in charge of the coaches. I'll be in charge of the players. I'll do what I think needs to be done as far as locker room etiquette.

Q: You've said before, that you're going to get the blame, if y'all don't win. So at this point in your career do you want the ball in your hands with the game on the line so you can either do what you do or make a decision?

A: Ahh, that's what the Maloofs pay me for. It's that simple. Peja is a great player and he definitely should shoot last-second shots. It has nothing to do with anything about him before people start talking about it's a rip. I've been in this league 11 years and I've hit some game-winners and since I got injured, that doesn't mean I'm old or my skills have diminished. You know, it's funny. The doctors tell my trainer all the time here in Detroit that (they've) never seen anybody come back from this injury like this. And I laugh and I look at the statistics and hear what people say. So if you ask me do I want (the ball)? Hell, yeah, nothing's changed. And I'm going to remind people of that more than ever.

Q: Has playing made you think about coaching or never coaching?

A: I see myself maybe coaching college. I couldn't see me coaching the pros.

Q: Do you hear people talk about how you guys have punked up in games, especially from the free-throw line in each two key Game 7s (against the Lakers in 2002 and Minnesota this past season)? When you lost the team has been terrible from the free-throw line.

A: I know I've heard that, but truthfully, during the game I haven't noticed it … I don't know what to say … I know anytime I see Doug or Peja miss a free-throw I'm surprised.

Q: Does it seem funny that you've been in Sacramento so long and the team has gone through so much after the way it began here for you?

A: Well, I think we've done some great things. That's why our expectations are so high, but that's really what we came to do in some ways. We wanted to change the expectations. It does seem funny with all this having gone on. And by it actually being over with Vlade gone. That's the end of the era. Not that we won't play or win or nothing. But it's just me and Peja from that first year (1999 lockout season). It's a different time now.

Q: Were you aware that people thought you were criticizing Peja and did you call him and say anything to him?

A: At the end of the game, I was changing in the dressing room, 10 seconds before I went to the media room, and I went in there and kissed Peja on the cheek because I know he played hard. I'm not going to criticize Peja because I know how he shoots and know how he works. I've been on him for rebounding and toughness and I've been on him for that to his face, so why would I do it in the media room

But I'm not trying to call out Peja. I was calling out a lot of people. I was calling out our team. I was calling out our mentality. It's time o stop playing soft and (like) suburban kids. That's what we play like. We play like we're from the suburbs and the best basketball is played in the city. Everybody knows that.

That's what I was tired of … Everybody would get sentimental before a game, but when it was time (to play), nobody wants to fight. One thing I will say about Anthony Peeler, maybe losing him for that game cost us and maybe it didn't, who is to say. But it felt good playing with somebody who was willing to fight.

How many times have you seen anybody on our team fight? We get technicals for crying, but we don't fight. And the NBA knows that. Players know that and I don't mean you have go get a couple of bullies. I just want those guys who try their hardest and are embarrassed when they lose. I'm embarrassed when I lose.

Q: So now how do you take it when you hear people call you soft?

A: Oh, I've never heard that.Q: Oh, I have.

A: I haven't, but they don't know me, obviously. Unless they are looking at how I'm quiet off the court and all that. I laugh at that. Because I would say none of those people calling me soft have been through what I've been through in my life and my background. How can I be soft when I fight the world every day? But if it seems like I'm soft, just wait. I'm mad at myself for just buying into it. Just wait. Just wait. I'm going at everybody.

Q: To hear that you were the reason why the team fell off?

A: That was laughable to me. Our defense and rebounding weren't there last season. I know I came back and we didn't play as well. It was frustrating because you want things to go as well as they were before. You never want to come back and be detrimental to the team. Obviously, I didn't help us win more. The worst thing was not being able to get ready physically for the playoffs like I would have wanted to. Basically, I understand all the hoopla and he's hurt and all that. Actually, you can understand that. You can also understand being the one to blame. I understand that and I respect all of that. I want to be the one you blame. But if I'm going to be the one you blame, then let me have (the ball) to be blamed.

Q: You seemed to be saying late in the year that you don't get a lot of plays called for you in the low post. Is that right?

A: No, no, no. I usually have to call them. But that's just the way the team is. We have a team where the post player is at the high post. Everybody is always on me for not getting the ball in the post or shooting jumpers, but that's the way our offense runs. But I think it's a good offense …But yeah, I want the ball in the post.

08-02-2004, 10:24 AM
"I need to be more selfish"....for whatever reason, he did not finish his thought...but I have the full quote" I need to be more selfish so that I can insure that the kings never win anything because I am a true loser and given the chance I will always choke in crunch time....and when a call does not go my way.....I'll be honest...I almost cry every time!"

08-02-2004, 10:51 AM
"I need to be more selfish"

Is that really a problem for She-webb?

08-02-2004, 11:19 AM
Originally posted by: Evilmav2
'I need to be more selfish'

Q: So now how do you take it when you hear people call you soft?

A: Oh, I've never heard that.Q: Oh, I have.

A: I haven't, but they don't know me, obviously. Unless they are looking at how I'm quiet off the court and all that. I laugh at that. Because I would say none of those people calling me soft have been through what I've been through in my life and my background. How can I be soft when I fight the world every day? But if it seems like I'm soft, just wait. I'm mad at myself for just buying into it. Just wait. Just wait. I'm going at everybody.

You can't run. You can't jump. You can't lie.
Chris - you know damn well everyone questions your toughness, your heart, your ability.

P.S. my mom thinks you suck too. Softie

Fah Q
08-02-2004, 11:33 AM
Am I the only one who thought this was funny?

A: The knee is better. For the first time, I was able to rest it. I rested it approximately a month and a half to 2 months. From the middle of May to early July.

So from the middle of 1 month to the early part of the next month= a month and a half to 2 months?
I thought it was = to about 3 weeks

08-02-2004, 11:50 AM
Originally posted by: Fah Q
Am I the only one who thought this was funny?

A: The knee is better. For the first time, I was able to rest it. I rested it approximately a month and a half to 2 months. From the middle of May to early July.

So from the middle of 1 month to the early part of the next month= a month and a half to 2 months?
I thought it was = to about 3 weeks

I think you forgot June slick!

Fah Q
08-02-2004, 12:10 PM
Originally posted by: Male23Dan

Originally posted by: Fah Q
Am I the only one who thought this was funny?

A: The knee is better. For the first time, I was able to rest it. I rested it approximately a month and a half to 2 months. From the middle of May to early July.

So from the middle of 1 month to the early part of the next month= a month and a half to 2 months?
I thought it was = to about 3 weeks

I think you forgot June slick!

I did indeed forget June, where I live we only have 11 months.

That freakin hilarious, I try to make fun of someone else and I end up looking like an idiot.

You couldn't have just looked the other way could you? Blast you!

08-02-2004, 12:41 PM
'I need to be more selfish'

It's always good to set achievable goals.

08-02-2004, 01:48 PM
Originally posted by: SeriousSummer
'I need to be more selfish'

It's always good to set achievable goals.

Maybe he should also set a goal to smoke more dope.

08-02-2004, 01:52 PM
No matter how bad the knee is, he still cries cries cries..........waaaaaaaa, they booed me, waaaaaaa, nobody on my team works hard, waaaaaaaaaaaaa, excluding Doug Christie, waaaaaaaaaaaaa, oh and Peja shoots a lot.....I hate him more then any other player in the league. That guy is from the hood? Yeah right....maybe the hood for toddlers. I hope he is more selfish for them. He can be their Antoine Walker. A much, much worse contract i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif.....we should get about 500 people together, wear sacramento jerseys, go to a game at Arco, and all booo as loud as we possibly can. I'd pay for the whole shin-dig just to see the look on Crybaby's face.

08-02-2004, 02:17 PM
Don't get me excited i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif I'd laugh like a hyena if I heard a ton of boo'g again when Webb has the ball..... hahahahahaha

I loathe Webb and wish to god he had gotten traded. He's a punk arse cancer.

He's jealous because Peja and Miller carried this team. He got jealous because Peja was a media darling "This is Pejas team now" "Kings don't need Webber" "Peja was 3d (or 4th) in MVP votes" etc, etc..............

Then he's jealous of Miller because Miller, playing out of position, playing PF (in for Webb) and made the ASG. LMFAO.

Webb has me on the verge of not wanting to be a Kings fan (until his arse leaves) anymore

08-02-2004, 08:19 PM
"I need to be more selfish"

More bad news for the kings.

08-02-2004, 09:04 PM
I find it funny how he talks about mental and physical preparation when honestly, he was the least prepared of all of them. Thanks for the ironic laugh Chris.

Max Power
08-04-2004, 01:11 PM
Its funny that Webber gets ripped for saying the exact words that most Mavs fans would LOVE to hear coming from Dirk.

08-04-2004, 01:13 PM
Originally posted by: Max Power
Its funny that Webber gets ripped for saying the exact words that most Mavs fans would LOVE to hear coming from Dirk.
two different players two different situations....webbers deserves to get ripped...Dirk does need to say it!