MM: You know who I miss on the Knicks? Raymond Felton. It was so much fun watching you two play together, because there seemed to be a kind of chemistry, an understanding. It’s like watching two great actors in a scene. It seemed like you knew what the other guy was going to do. Raymond always seemed to know where to put the ball for you. Do you miss Raymond?
AS:
Yeah, I do, man. I had a great time with Raymond. I wish he could have stayed with us. He’s one of those point guards who is about to emerge.

MM: It was funny to watch the Denver Nuggets in the playoffs, because it was like “Knicks West.” The whole team out there seemed like former Knickerbockers.
AS:
Right. Exactly

MM: What’s harder for you—game day or a day off?
AS:
Days off are definitely cool; you need those to heal. When you get those days off, you have to fully take advantage of them.

MM: Is there a player you like to stare down and play hard against?
AS:
There’s not one particular player. I come out and play hard against everyone.

MM: What about a team?
AS:
The Lakers

MM: That’s a great team. Great franchise. Great history.
AS:
Yeah. [Which sounds like he’s a Yankees fan hearing me compliment the Boston Red Sox. It’s a grudging acceptance of fact.]

MM: I want to talk about Deion Sanders.
AS:
[Laughs] You want to talk about Deion?

MM: He is a tremendous athlete, someone who in his way changed the game of football. And I feel that you have changed the game of basketball, in your own way. There’s a comparison in the excitement you bring to the game. Is Deion someone who influenced you when you were younger?
AS:
Deion is probably my favorite NFL player of all time. For you to compare us as athletes—I mean Deion, he definitely changed the game of football, and you’re saying I changed the game of basketball. It’s just a matter of being yourself and being comfortable in your own skin. That’s how I look at it.

MM: What do you think? Rookie of the Year, sixtime NBA All-Star, Olympic bronze medal…
AS:
[Interrupting] That’s not bad, man! Being nine years in the NBA, six-time NBA All-Star; bronze medal; Rookie of the Year... Personally, that’s not too bad. [Laughs]

MM: That’s not bad at all, man! [We are now both laughing because it’s ridiculous what this man has accomplished since high school.] And then there’s the issue of ESPN where you’re on the cover, jumping naked into the pool…
AS:
[Laughs] Oh, gosh... [He actually sounds like he may be blushing.]

MM: I know a lot of people that, if they had a body like yours, would be running around naked too.
AS:
[Laughing] Yeah. Well, I don’t know…

MM: Do you have any tips for staying in shape?
AS:
You just have to eat right and exercise. Those are the two main things. At least try to. It’s hard when you’re so accustomed to eating a certain way, but at least try to change slowly, and make sure you exercise.

MM: You’re not a vegetarian?
AS:
No, but I try to eat kosher for the most part. It’s hard on the road.

MM: What do you imagine doing when you finish playing in the NBA?
AS:
I don’t know, man. When I’m done with the NBA, I hope that I have enough of an entrepreneurial mind so I don’t have to do much. [I’m thinking about his five-year, $99.7 million contract and wondering, How much is his deal with Nike for his new signature Air Max Sweep Thru? His “entrepreneurial mind” is doing fine.]

MM: During games, they show the players entering the Garden in street clothes. You always look sharp.
AS:
I appreciate that.

MM: You have great style. I like that lady you’re collaborating with on a clothing line, Rachel Roy. She seems cool.
AS:
Yeah, she’s pretty cool. She’s good at what she does. Anyone who has passion in what they do, you get the best out of them.

MM: I’m curious—with the tremendous salary from the success that you have, are there tremendous temptations that come with it?
AS:
Not really. It’s a matter of how to self-discipline. Whatever you accomplish, you have to be able to control it, not let it control you.

MM: How do you feel about money? They say it can’t buy happiness.
AS:
It definitely can’t. It has no strong moral to it. It’s just kind of a material thing that helps you live. Other than that, you can’t take it with you when you leave here, so there’s definitely more important things out there than money.

MM: You just came back from China. How did that experience affect you?
AS:
It was great. I was in Shanghai for the Festival of Sport with Nike, and I traveled to Beijing for my own personal studies.

MM: What was that like?
AS:
Beijing was pretty special—so many monumental spots and historic landmarks, all very intriguing. It was great to check off another great city I’m studying.

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