HoopsHype.com Interviews

Chris Porter: "I still think about returning to the NBA"
by Jorge Sierra / September 5, 2003

Chris Porter on the cover of Sports IllustratedCHRIS PORTER - QUICK FACTS
- Named SEC Player of the Year and 2nd Team All-America in 1998-99, his first year at Auburn.
- Appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in November 1999.
- Selected by Golden State as 55th overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft.
- Averaged 8.6 ppg and 3.7 rpg with the Warriors in 2000-01.
- Traded to Charlotte on October 25, 2001. Was soon waived.
- Signed with Oliveirense (Portugal) in August 2003.

Why did you choose to play in Portugal this season?

Chris Porter: They told me it was a pretty good league. I thought this could be a good situation for me, so I came to play here.

What's the hardest part of playing abroad?

CP: The language. It has to be the language. The game is the same. Basketball is all about space, timing... The same things matter wherever you play. It's all pretty much the same wherever you play.

Do you take your family with you when you have to play overseas or you are alone like many others?

CP: I'm a family-oriented person, so I try to have my family with me every time it's possible. You have to check out what the situation is first, but if it's possible I take my family with me.

You've played in several countries in the last couple of years. Did you have any bad experience playing overseas?

CP: Yes, in Italy.

What happened there?

CP: We weren't paid. It was a good league and all. We played against Euroleague teams and it was a very good competition. But we were not getting paid. We were not paid for three months, so I had to leave.

Are you disappointed about the way things have gone in your basketball career so far?

CP: I wouldn't say so. All things happen for a reason. You just have to do what you think it's best for you. I'm just happy and grateful for being able to live doing what I love to do -- play basketball. It doesn't matter if it's here, in the CBA, in the NBA... Wherever.

You were a star in college and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated once. Do you still have that magazine?

CP: Yeah, I still have that magazine.

You graced the cover of the magazine in your senior season at Auburn, but you could have declared eligible for the NBA Draft after your junior season and most people think you would have been a first-round pick. Looking back, do you regret not declaring for the draft then?

CP: No, I don't. I don't regret that. I wanted to play my four years in college. I really enjoyed all the college experience. Fans loved us. They loved the way we played and I thought it was the best thing for me at the time to stay.

You had a pretty decent rookie year in Golden State. Why do you think you are not in the NBA now?

CP: I don't know. It's general managers and executives who should answer that. They are the ones who pick the players and make the teams. I can't answer that.

Do you think off-the-court issues [Chris Porter was arrested on drug charges two years ago] may have something to do with the fact that you are not in the NBA?

CP: All that is in the past. Issues that happened off the court are in the past. It's all definitely behind me. And I don't think it has nothing to do with it.

What's your best memory of that year in the NBA?

CP: Beating the Lakers.

And the worst?

CP: When I got hurt. I had an ankle injury in my rookie year.

Was that worse than getting traded to Charlotte?

CP: Yeah, that was worse. Being traded, that's part of the business. Just see what happened this summer. A million players have been traded this summer. That's just the nature of the business.

Many American players stop thinking about the NBA after some years in Europe. Is that your case or do you still think about returning to the league?

CP: I still think about the NBA. I still want to return to the league. Hopefully somebody in the NBA sees me play, sees how much I have improved over the years and gives me a chance to return.

Jorge Sierra is the editor of HoopsHype.com.

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