Sunday, January 29, 2006

Marvin Williams Interview

There have been high expectations for Marvin Williams since he helped the Tar Heels win a national championship last season and was then chosen as the second pick in the NBA draft. This season Williams averages 6.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game off the bench for the struggling Hawks, who lost to the Bulls at the United Center on Saturday night despite Joe Johnson’s 40 points. Williams showed flashes of brilliance, tallying a team-high in rebounds (10) and steals (3).

An hour and a half before tipoff in Chicago, Williams stepped out of the visiting locker room munching on a piece of fruit. I introduced myself and he stuck out his fist and apologized about his dirty hands. I told him I graduated from Carolina in 2004. Dressed in his Hawks warm-up uniform, he smiled and said, “Damn, I graduated from high school in ‘04.” We stood outside the entrance to the court and chatted about the life of a 19-year-old NBA player.

BG: I saw you last summer near Time-Out with a Hummer. Are you still driving around in it?

MW: No. I was test driving. It was something I was looking in to. It’s an all right car. I liked it, had it for a little over a month.

BG: What are you driving around now?

MW: I have a black Denali.

BG: How do you like living in Atlanta?

MW: I like Atlanta. Atlanta is a nice spot for me. It’s not too far from Carolina. I like it. It’s a nice city.

BG: How do you feel being so far from Washington and living on the East coast? Does your family still live in Washington?

MW: My dad lives in Atlanta, so it’s not bad. He moved there when I got drafted. So he’s there with me. Two of my roommates from back home live with me. But it’s not hard being away from my family anymore. It was tough when I first came to school, but that year was big for me, so it’s not tough anymore.

BG: What are your thoughts on being in the NBA and the NBA lifestyle?

MW: I like it. I mean, it’s kind of boring. There’s a lot of time, a lot of free time. But it’s fun. Night in and night out you’re competing against the best guys all over the United States. So it’s pretty fun.

BG: What do you like doing in your free time?

MW: I watch a lot of movies. I watch a lot of movies. I play pool a lot. That’s about it.

BG: I heard Raymond and Rashad are pretty good at pool?

MW: Yeah. Rashad’s pretty good. Ray’s pretty good actually. I’m not too good. I’m getting better.

BG: What movies have you seen lately that you’ve liked?

MW: That I liked, hmm. I heard Flightplan was pretty good. I meant to watch it today. I think I’m going to check that out tomorrow.

BG: What’s your all-time favorite movie?

MW: Probably Coming to America.

BG: What’s your biggest surprise in the NBA, on and off the court?

MW: The biggest surprise for me is how good people really are. I mean, you see it on TV, but it’s another thing to play against them. When you turn on the TV and see Kobe having 81 points. I mean, you don’t think something like that is possible. So I think that’s the biggest surprise for me. I knew guys were good coming in, but I didn’t really understand how good guys really were.

BG: What about off the court?

MW: There’s a lot of free time after practice. I’m home at 2:30 waiting for the next day to come around. So that’s pretty much it.

BG: Who do you hang out with?

MW: My roommates. Josh Childress some times. He’s kind of my best friend on the team.

BG: Do you ever think about Chapel Hill?

MW: All the time. All the time. I watch the guys play, saw them play today against Arizona, got a big win. I talk to the guys all the time.

BG: You do?

MW: Oh yeah, oh yeah. I talk to the coaches, all the coaches. I talk to the players a lot. Quentin Thomas is still my guy. We don’t go two days without talking.

BG: Really?

MW: Oh yeah. We always talk. But I still talk to everybody, so.

What do you miss most about college?

MW: College is a great life, especially for a young person. I had a great time, it was really fun. I would have loved to go back. But certain situations didn’t allow me to do that. I had a great time. I had a really fun time.

BG: Try not to look back?

MW: Yeah, yeah, definitely. I’m definitely excited about my future, there’s no question. I know where I’m at right now, no doubt about it.

This interview first appeared in in January 2006.