What players think
- Do you support the position of President Bush in the conflict with Iraq?
Adonal Foyle: The frustration for me was that the debate was not clear. If you’re against a strike, you’re unpatriotic or didn’t care about September 11 as opposed to saying that this is something serious. I think you have to look it not as a as a partisan – is my country right or wrong? – but as a global crisis that will effect a lot of people. The way that France was vilified really scares me because it got away from the debate of what is really going on here.
Calvin Booth: I try to stay out of things like that. At the end of the day those guys are U.S. citizens no matter how we feel about it either way. They have to feel they have the backing of the people over there and feel good about being over there. I just hope it turns out for the better.
Antawn Jamison: I’d rather keep that opinion to myself. I just want us to live life as normal as possible. Because if we change our lives the terrorists have won.
- Is the crisis in Iraq something you talk about in the team?
Adonal Foyle: I’ve been the one following it most closely and the guys will ask me ‘What did the President say?’ I give them two-minute updates.
Calvin Booth: We’ve talked as individuals, not as group.
Antawn Jamison: It’s one of those events that whether you’re an athlete or not you can’t help but follow it and talk about it.
- Do you think the NBA season will be affected in any manner by war?
Adonal Foyle: Possibly. It’s coming home to us that this is one of the unintended consequences of war. Everyone will be affected. This war has far-reaching implications. This is a war that has no significant international support. Without the support of the UN there is no one to say ‘does this stand the test of objectivity’ -- and I think that’s a very serious thing. We still have to find a way to come together to stop terrorism. But that can not allow us to suspend good thinking. We can’t do this alone even though we have the force and power to do it. We have to be more vigilant and hold a moral ground. There is not another country in the world that has our power that we have and with that comes responsibility. It is very much a dangerous time and that will continue long after the fighting in Iraq has stopped.
Calvin Booth: The concern is for the military folks in Iraq right now rather anything we may face here. I think that’s one of the last things that comes to mind about how it will affect our season.
Antawn Jamison: I don’t think were frightened about that. It may affect our travel. But I feel comfortable that the league is taking proper precaution about making it safe and making it normal as possible. But whether they stop the games is really secondary. We’ve got people who are about to lose their lives so we can do the things we love. If we can provide a diversion and get people to come out to watch our games that’s what we need to do.
Shane Battier: The way I look at it, I saw something on SportsCenter. It was a soldier in Kuwait who said how important sports are to them. They follow us. Sports is a release for them. I think we can try to raise the morale of our guys a bit.
Gilbert Arenas: I think for every basketball player and every entertainer out there, we have to do our job to help as diversion. It’s like what Charles Barkley said during the 1992 Olympics. He said about the troops: ‘We have to entertain these people to keep them happy and show that someone cares.’ Everything should be going as usual. The troops will need something to keep them busy just to keep their minds off what’s going on out there.
- How does this affect you on the court?
Shammond Williams: You try not to think about it out on the basketball court, but it is a serious event and it affects the world. It affects each and every individual whether you believe it or not. Unfortunately, things had to come this way. I just feel confident. Hopefully we made the right decisions with what we're gonna do and the troops will come home safely.
You're always concerned with your safety. I'm not really concerned but war or not, you're always concerned with your family's safety. I just put all my belief in God; that God makes no mistakes and will watch over me, regardless of the situation.
Marcus Camby: You definitely think about it. The guys are going over there fighting for our freedom and we're just playing a game. I always pray a little prayer every night before I go to bed for the troops that are over there fighting for us. As for me, I can't let what's going on over there affect what I have to do over here. I just have to keep going about doing the things I do and hopefully things will work out best for everybody.
Eric Piatkowski: Of course you think about it. You think about how long it's going to take, how safe things are going to be in the homeland. Because you have a wife and kids, you wonder if there are going to be repercussions. You wonder about our economy. A lot of talk about whether it's going to go and turnaround. Are we going to go more towards a depression or rebound towards a more robust economy? There are a lot of things that are weighing on my mind right now. Hopefully we can get this over as soon as possible and move on with our lives.
Quotes extracted from interviews made by HoopsHype writers AJ Hayes, Morris O'Kelly and Lance Wiedower
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