HoopsHype.com Interviews

Shawn Kemp: "My role is to do some of the dirty work"
by Jon Finkel / December 9, 2002

Shawn, you were one of the premier dunkers in the league for a long time. Do you ever teach McGrady a few things in practice with a classic Kemp dunk?

Shawn Kemp: (Laughs) Not anymore. We do a lot of talking and messing with each other in practice, but he's got that dunking thing down pretty good. He doesn't need any coaching or teaching in that.

Describe the best dunk in your career.

SK: I've always enjoyed dunking on people. It was never for the design of it... Mostly for the power. I enjoyed them all, just to dunk over somebody. That was the flow of it, definitely.

Dunking is obviously near and dear to your heart. Who do you get excited about watching slam these days?

SK: Tracy can fly... Kenyon Martin is a very good power dunker. A lot of young guys are exciting, but Tracy has got to be at the top of the list.

You've had a lot of pressure on you with each trade. How do you feel you've fit in Orlando?

SK: So far, so good. You know, it's going well. I was able to come out here in the summer and meet all the guys and get acquainted with them. I got to spend some time with them off of the court and it's going well. I can't complain at all.

So are you back to having fun playing basketball?

SK: No doubt about it. It's been a couple of years since I could say that, but I'm definitely having fun.

What do you think was missing from some of the other situations that you were in?

SK: Everywhere else was good. I have no complaints about the other situations that I was in. I was just behind a great player the last couple of years in Rasheed Wallace so my minutes were cut. So, I had to deal with that.

Each team you head to is kind of like a sequel to your career. If your career could mimic a series of movies, what would they be?

SK: I don't know. I never really thought of it like that. I realized early that I was going to be a part of the NBA for a while. I never thought that I was going to get to stick with one team for a very long time. I don't know what movies they'd be like or what I'd call'em. They'd be good though, fast with some action and Samuel L. Jackson would have to play me.

Shaft Kemp?

SK: (Laughing) Something like that.

I think it's perfect. Anyone in particular you'd want to have songs on the soundtrack?

SK: Scarface. I like mostly hip-hop, so Scarface could make most of the tracks.

Solid. What are your goals for this team and for yourself?

SK: Well, I think just to improve from what they did last year. That's first off. We want to improve and have a quality season and be productive. We've got two great players in Tracy and Grant. With them in a playoff situation, I think we could go all the way. Plus, just as a team, for us to get better and better I think during the course of the regular season, we could put ourselves in a great position to go far in the post-season.

What do you see as your role in the Magic's pursuit of a title?

SK: Just to come in and contribute and do some of the dirty work. I'm in there for rebounding, scoring and to guard some of the big guys. All the little things, even blocking shots. That's what they've asked me to do so far. On this team, I don't have to be the main scorer or the main focus. I just have to contribute as much as I can.

Sounds like your main job is just to play tough.

SK: Yeah. I have to play a physical game. That's what we need. This is nothing new. I've been asked to do this for a while now so it fits hand in hand with how I play now.

Jon Finkel is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com

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