Yesterday, #believethehype had the opportunity to take part in a teleconference with Detroit Pistons star Greg Monroe ahead of the NBA London Live game between the Pistons & the New York Knicks on the 17th January at the O2 Arena.
Monroe spoke at length with #believethehype about his leadership role on the team, the emergence of his rookie front-court partner Andre Drummond, the US Olympic Team & small ball vs big ball in the NBA. To hear what Monroe had to say on those matters, listen to Episode 60 – From Greg Monroe to Cheerios.
Furthermore, Monroe spoke openly about having Dennis Rodman’s jersey number, Euro’s having the “soft” tag, Carmelo Anthony’s MVP credentials & more.
Why is the number 10 jersey so special to you and has there been any with the Pistons retiring Dennis Rodman’s number?
“It was just a number that I had been wearing my whole career from way back in the youth league when I was 10 years old, I wore it through high school, through my summer days and into college. At the time me wearing 10 wasn’t a problem, they hadn’t wanted to retire his number yet. If they had said I was a problem coming into the drafted then I wouldn’t have asked for it, but because of NBA rules and long process, it took time.”
“When I got drafted I wasn’t told that the number was retired but when he did come back from retirement, I asked if I could continue to where his number, even though I planned on changing it, he said he didn’t mind. I said that I will try and change my number at some point and let his number rest like it deserves to be.”
Will you be changing your number Greg? What to?
“I’m not sure yet. I’d have to figure it out because we have other numbers that I’ll have to look out for because some are already retired & being used.”
The Pistons are currently in 10th Position & in the Playoff race. Do you think the team will make the Playoffs? Did you expect to achieve that after your start to the season?
“We definitely could have got off to a better start and we had some troubles at the start of the season. It’s always tough playing on the road in the NBA and starting with 7 or 8 after that first home game, it was tough so we were just trying to take it one game at a time and stay focused on the task at hand. All we can do is do our part as far as the playoff race and we can win as many games as possible and hopefully the rest falls into place.”
Greg, there are a number of European big-men in the NBA. How different is the way they play? Is this a positive for the NBA?
“The guys that grow up in Europe, definitely have a unique way of playing. You definitely feel that there’s a different style in their play as far as fine tuning some skills and moves and things that they do. The game is taught a little bit different there so they’re going to have different habits and different things that they do than the guys who grew up in America, so it’s great for the game. It gives the game a bit of a disparity and gives a different look and outlook from the usual American way and it’s very healthy for basketball in the NBA and in worldwide competition too.”
There is a stereotype that European players are considered “soft”. Is this correct?
“I haven’t really run into any guys that I could say are just ‘soft’. You could say that (soft) about guys that grew up in America in different parts of the country, so that’s just something that is a personal opinion. I don’t think you can apply that to the whole, majority of European players.”
People are saying you have a possible case for an All Star spot. Is this a realistic goal for you this season?
“That is definitely something I would like to accomplish but I just try and go out and help my team every night. I do think I’m capable of being an All Star but I do understand it’s a process and your team’s record has a lot to do with it so I just try to do what I can to help us win. Once you start winning, all the other individual stuff falls into place.”
Are you going to have a chance to get out & see much of London whilst you’re in town?
“Guys aren’t looking at this as a vacation. We know we’re there for a game and there for a purpose but at the same time I do feel like we have a bit of time to get out and see something new… But we’re always going to be focused. We know that we are going over there to play in a game, but it’s also a once in a lifetime opportunity so the guys just want to make sure they get an experience personally, but also take care of business.”
There’s been talk about an NBA team being based in London in the future. What’s your thoughts on this?
“Part of the reason we are here in London this weekend is to experiment, to see how the players react to the travel, the logistics and to get an idea on ticket prices. We are very serious and I would envisage it happening within the next decade.”
What do you think about Carmelo Anthony being talked about as a possible League MVP?
“I definitely think he should be in there, the performances he has put in this year and his team being one of the best in the Eastern Conference. He definitely should be.”
Some of the Knicks in Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler both played in the Olympics. Will they have an advantage as they have been to London already & have played at the O2?
“I think both teams will still prepare like it’s any other game. We don’t change on a plane ride, in this league everybody knows what everybody can do – the coaching staff will put us in a position to win the game and they will do the same. I don’t think them being there in the summer will translate to what happens on the court to give them an advantage.”
We’ve seen some footage of Kyle Singler’s trick shots. How good a shooter is he?
“He is great! It’s just the idea of the shot, and making it is beyond crazy but the idea for the shots makes it even more special.”
Monroe’s Pistons take on the Knicks at the O2 on the 17th January. The game is sold out so UK fans can catch the action on Sky Sports & International fans on NBA League Pass.