HoopsHype.com Interviews

Vin Baker: "I bring leadership"
by Jon Finkel / October 17, 2002

Boston fans are notoriously tough and I doubt they’ll give you much of a grace period to produce. Are you ready?

Vin Baker: I’m ready to go. I’m just adjusting to my teammates right now and by the time we get ready to start the regular season, I’ll be fine. I’m comfortable right now and as each day goes by I get more used to these guys and this team. I’m really ready to get going.

You do seem relaxed. How do you remain calm with such pressures to succeed surrounding you?

VB: Even though I’m in a new city and with a new team, I continue to do things that I would regularly do before a game anywhere. I prepare like I always have and that keeps me focused regardless of what’s happening around me.

Included in that preparation is your ritual of watching a movie before every game, right?

VB: Yeah. I’ve been doing that forever. It’s a superstition I have.

What did you watch today?

VB: I watched and fell asleep to "Money Talks".

Chris Tucker, Charlie Sheen, not bad. Do you always watch that movie or do you have one that you watch the most?

VB: It’s not always the same one. I like to watch a bunch of things. Mostly comedy to help me relax a little bit.

Movies have main and supporting characters just like basketball teams. Where do you think you fit in on this Celtics team?

VB: You know, I think it’s going to take me another month or so to really figure out what my role is. I know I’m just going to play basketball and play hard. I’m going to post up, rebound and help this team by doing the things that I am best at. My role will be whatever helps us get better.

That being the case, what would be your perfect game in a Celtics’ uniform?

VB: 25 points, 12 boards in the Finals. I would love it. To put up big numbers in a big game. That’s what it’s all about.

Those would be great numbers. Do you think big numbers are the key to your success in Boston?

VB: Not really. I feel that, in my case, big numbers will help us win. But, of course, I’ll do whatever it takes for us to win.

What kind of intangibles do you think you bring to this team besides points and rebounds?

VB: Leadership. I’ve been in the playoffs several times and since this is a young team, I can help guys prepare for that. I can use the experiences that I’ve had to help these guys through the season. I think that’s important.

When you last played in the East for Milwaukee, Jordan’s Bulls were at the top and the Nets and Celtics were at the bottom. Things have pretty much switched. What do you think of the changing of the guard?

VB: I think it’s great. It’s obviously a changing of power, but I think it’s great that there is so much parity in the East. It makes it more exciting for the fans and more competitive for us, as players.

Do you think that the East has changed much in terms of playing style since you left?

VB: I think it’s somewhat different. When the Bulls were on top, everyone built their teams around defeating them. Now, with the good teams all a little younger, it’s more of a faster league, more athletic than it used to be. That’s why this team is at the top of the league. We play to that style.

Can that style lead you to a championship?

I think if we work hard it can. That’s why we’re all here.

Jon Finkel is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com

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