Interview

Kent Bazemore: Credit Ferry for Hawks' success

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First of all, let's talk about the All-Star hashtag skit. It was a tribute to the one Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake did, right?

Kent Bazemore: Oh yeah, yeah, it was definitely a spinoff of that. The Hawks PR came up with the idea and myself and Mike Muscala did it. I hope they saw it, I hope they get to see it one day…

And who came up with the nicknames? I loved 'Better Call Paul' Millsap and 'Machine Gun' Korver. 

KB: Thank you, man. Me and Mike spent a lot of time with the guys on the bench. Throughout the games we are always making hashtags, just fooling around, you know. Trying to stay in tune for the game, and the skit was like a synopsis of the foolery that can come up with.

What was the reaction in the locker room when they saw the video?

KB: They still repeat some of the hashtags. We all call Kyle 'Machine Gun' Korver now anytime he hits a three… Anytime one of the players makes a play, one of the guys on the bench will throw out one of the hashtags. It's always a good time.

Do you like the mean tweets by Jimmy Kimmel or the hashtag feature by Fallon?

KB: They are both very hilarious and creative… I think the hashtag skit is probably the best, it requires a lot more skill, because it's all on the fly, it's very versatile, it can go in so many directions with it… The mean tweets, I can go to Twitter and search my name and find a thousand of those. The hashtag skit is probably my favorite of the two.

So do you get a lot of mean tweets? How do react to those tweets?

KB: I use it as fuel. Some people may tweet back here and there, say something smart… I've been like favorite them, screen-shot them and revisit them whenever I need to add a little more motivation to do something.

Your video was great but the first All-Star balloting returns wasn't, at least for the Hawks. Only Millsap among the most voted. And he's got 12 frontcourt players ahead of him… Maybe you need to shoot another video.

KB: Yeah, I think we definitely want to do another video, very soon. Paul is having a tremendous year. Pretty much all the guys, we're doing pretty well right now, I think we're second in the East. Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver… the whole starting five is playing great. At least two of them deserve to be at the All-Star.

Talking about social media, I downloaded your free app and it looks good. Did you come up with the logo design?

KB: I had a guy in Los Angeles when I was playing with the Lakers… I gave a couple of tickets to a guy who propose to his girlfriend at the game, so it was a great turnout. So he told me if I ever needed everything, he would help me. I found out he was a tattoo artist, and we have been going back and forth, trying to come up with the logo. And finally he came up with this dope idea. I took the sketch from him, I sent it to Under Armour and they got it printed for me.

And the picture, I guess it's a tribute to the famous 'Wings' photo of Michael Jordan.

KB: That's a very iconic poster. I almost have a seven-foot wingspan, and I actually have wing tattoos, so it was a great picture to go with my app.

OK let's talk about how great the Hawks are playing. I'm already eating my words because I didn't pick you to make the playoffs.

KB: We play a very uptempo pace, you have so many guys that can hit shots. The threes start raining, Jeff [Teague] starts going from baseline to baseline making layups, Kyle and Paul… our bench is doing great. You've got Dennis Schroeder, Thabo [Sefolosha]… I'm not surprised about the team doing so well because we've got the talent and we work hard.

Trying to understand your success, there's a great ESPN article about you guys. You're the kings of the catch-and-shoot art.

KB: We have a Western Conference coach, Mike Budenholzer. He's been in San Antonio 19 years under Gregg Popovich, a great guy to learn from. The Hawks organization has done a great job in getting the personnel they want. For the whole thing, Danny Ferry was doing a good job of cleaning up the organization, getting the right guys in the right spots. The foundation he laid definitely got the Hawks organization going in the right direction. It's tough, with all the other teams, the competition to sign guys, salary cap restrictions, to finally get a team and finally win with it.

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So I guess you are satisfied with the decision you made signing with the Hawks this summer.

KB: Yeah. I had a lot teams that reached out – the Warriors, the Lakers, they all reached out. Boston was a team that was there, the Charlotte Hornets were there… My agent did a great job looking at all the options. I've got a lot of family in the East Coast. My mom has already been at a few games… It feels good being here. A perfect match. I want to make a name for myself in this league and the Hawks are trying to do the same.

Two starters, Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll, will be free agents at the end of the season. How important would be for the team to keep those guys?

KB: I think the way we're playing, how we finish out the season will speak volumes for any free agents we have coming up. The chemistry is great, we are all familiar with each other. I think it'll work out.

How did the locker room deal with the Danny Ferry situation?

KB: We handled it well. At the end, everyone knows Mr. Ferry was around a ton. He's a great guy, man. It's a business at the end of the day and everyone makes mistakes, but we are not in any position to judge anyone… They've got transcripts or whatever… We don't really know what was going on there. He's still watching over us from a distance. He stills gets the bulk of the credit for turning around the Hawks organization. We kind of miss him. Coach Budenholzer has done a great job filling in, and also Mr. Steve Koonin. The sun is shining bright even on rainy days in the Hawks organization.

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