HoopsHype.com Interviews

Richard Hamilton: "You can't beat Rip"
by Jon Finkel / December 22, 2002

When you were growing up, if I told you that you'd get to play on two NBA teams, one with Michael Jordan, the other without, would you have believed me if I said that you'd be more successful on the one without MJ?

Richard Hamilton: That's good. I mean, it's funny, you know. It's a situation where you never know where you're going to be playing at and things like that. But, I had the chance to play with the greatest player that ever played the game and now I'm on a winning team and winning games. It's how things happen.

What do you think the reasons are for you guys winning all these games, as you mentioned?

RH: It has to do with working hard every night. Coming out here, trying to improve, even after a win.

You have a much larger veteran cast surrounding you here in Detroit. What have you taken from them as opposed to playing with the young guys in Washington?

RH: This is a much more veteran oriented team than in Washington, as you said. Washington was a young team and we were trying to learn from each other. Here, you got guys that have played in the league, ten, eleven, twelve years. It's good, because they know how to survive and they definitely know how to play the game well.

Do you and Juan "Pepe" Sanchez ever argue about who has the best nickname?

RH: Nah. Mine's better. You can't beat "Rip".

Who started calling you "Rip"?

RH: My dad. People called my dad "Rip" so it just got passed to me.

It sounds like the name of an action figure like a G.I. Joe guy.

RH: Yeah. There aren't too many people who you'll run into called "Rip".

Unless you run into Hulk Hogan. He played a wrestler named Rip in the blockbuster "No Holds Barred" and they actually have action figures of him. Will there be any Rip Hamilton action figures on the shelves of toy stores this year?

RH: Nah (laughing). It's just a cool name. The one thing about it is that it's unique. Not too many people have that nickname.

Still, the name does imply action. Do you think it describes how you play?

RH: Yeah. It all relates. It definitely goes hand in hand. People always say to me, you know, 'they call you Rip because you rip things up on the floor.' That's just how I play.

That style of play will probably land you in the playoffs this year. Are you going to be ready?

RH: Well, yeah. I haven't ever played in the playoffs before and it's going to be a great atmosphere. I'm so used to playing in the NCAA tournament and things like that, so I think it's going to be fun.

I know it seems like a long time from now, but what will you be looking forward to most about playing in the post-season?

RH: Just getting there. Feeling it all out with the media and the fans.

You were a fan favorite in Washington and now it seems like the Detroit fans have gotten behind you as well. Do they compare?

RH: I mean, I had great fans in Washington. I can't take anything away from them. Now, I have great fans in Detroit. We're both teams that are just getting back into the swing of things as far as success is concerned and I appreciate both of them.

O.K. We've gone over your fans, your nickname, your new NBA team and your old NBA team. What about your alma mater? How do you think UConn looks this year?

RH: They're doing pretty good. You know, they're ranked in the top ten, so that's always a plus and you hope it stays that way.

Any predictions for them this season?

RH: Oh, Final Four baby.

Jon Finkel is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com

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