What happened? 82? That's crazy.
Errick McCollum: It was a normal game, it just started and I got the rhythm, I started really well. My teammates were feeding me, getting me the ball in good position to succeed. It was a close game, and they didn't really started noticing I could break the record until the fourth quarter and that's when they really started playing through me in the fourth and, you know, they gave me the opportunity to have a special night.
Were you aware during the game when you surpassed the 60-point, 70-point mark?
EM: At first I thought I was having a good game. I knew I had to play more minutes than normal because the other american, Charles Gaines, was hurt. So I was like 'I have to come and bring it tonight' because we were playing the first place team [Guandong Southern Tigers]. When I hit my first 4-5 shots, I had 22 points in the first quarter, then I thought 'Ok, tonight it can be my day'. I didn't think about scoring 82, but I thought it could be special [laughs].
What did your teammates tell you during the game while you were on such a scoring spree?
EM: Probably in the middle of the third quarter my teammates started to tell me 'keep going, keep going!' And in the fourth they told me that I could break the record… And well, at that moment you just try to focus and play, you don't think about records or anything because you want to win a game.
How does it feel to score that many points and still lose the game?
EM: Mixed feelings. You're torn because you want to win, that's why you're here for. A part of me was down because we didn't win even though we were playing against a stronger opponent, but the other part, well, I was happy to have such a special night. Me and my teammates, we put our best effort, so I was proud about that.
Well, not many people can brag and say they have scored more than Kobe's 81 points in an official game…
EM: [Laughs] Well, that's definitely special. He's one of the guys I watched growing up and definitely admired. Him and Jordan, two of my favorite players.
How would you rate defense in China?
EM: There's the idea that they don't play defense, but actually they do. It's just that the Americans get more freedom compared to Europe, where you'll probably end up playing less minutes. A game there is 40 minutes compared to 48 in China. Instead of being able to get 25 shots a night, you end up taking only 12 in Europe. The game is faster in China, so there's more possessions, more opportunities. In Europe you have more restrictions.
Playing every minute and taking 26 shots per game… It's funny, but is it exhausting too?
EM: [Laughs] No. I try to condition myself during the summer just to be able to play for extended periods of time and handle the shooting.
You've led the Greek League, the Eurocup and the Chinese League in scoring in the last year. Do you feel like you're due for a chance in the NBA now?
EM: Well, I hope so. I enjoyed my time in China, I think it was a good place for me. I will evalute what is best for me and my career now, we'll see what happens.
What are the best options short-term? A 10-day contract in the NBA, a contract till the end of the season with a strong Euroleague team maybe?
EM: Both of those options are realistic. I'll probably have an opportunity to play in the Euroleague or get a 10-day contract offer in the NBA, but maybe I'll just relax, stay home, train and prepare for the next season.