A Few Minutes With……..

By Anthony Harris
Updated: December 4, 2004

Jamal Crawford

NEW YORK, NY — New York Knicks guard Jamal Crawford is turning out to be just as advertised when team president Isiah Thomas traded for him this off-season.

Besides changing his uniform number (from 1 to 11, in honor of the former Pistons Hall of Fame guard), Crawford has electrified fans.

In fact, you could certainly excuse old school orange and blue fans if the current images of the Seattle, Washington native and point guard Stephon Marbury conjure up memories of Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and Walt “Clyde” Frazier.

The 24-year old left the University of Michigan after his freshman year and it took a while to prove he had game, but last season’s exploits (17.3 points per game) in lowly Chicago sufficed.

The trade will make him a household name, and, if Zeke can add a few more pieces, might go along way to helping put another banner at Madison Square Garden.

Q: How are you adjusting to life in The Big Apple on this stage as oppose to the spotlight in Chicago

A: I love it. The adjustment went smoother than I expected, my teammates welcomed me with open arms, and the city has embraced me, I’m just happy to be here.

Q: Chicago is considered one of the larger cities in the country, but obviously the Bulls have been struggling for a while, what’s the difference here in New York.

A: Well first it’s like (laughs) eight beat writers that follow you around here instead of the two that Chicago had, but here everything you do will be exposed so you’re either going to strive or you’re going to fall, everyone’s watching either way.

Q: Is there any particular adjustment you’ve had to make to adjust to what some may call pressure

A: No, it’s not pressure for me at all. I just have fun with it. I’m just apiece to the puzzle. We all gotta play our part and when we do that together we’re like a great team and we can be really good, so with Allan Houston coming back that’s just another weapon for us.

Q: Not to knock you or anything for I am no Adonis, but you’re not the biggest guy in the league, has that ever intimidated you

A: (Laughs) I don’t even think about it. I’ve been playing against bigger guys ever since I was a kid – like older people or grown adults – so going to the basket you’ve got to not even think about it, play and play off of instinct. I never was intimidated by it, even though these are the biggest guys.

Q: I notice a lot of times you talk with Jay-Z at the games, how close is your relationship with him

A: I was with him yesterday actually. It’s really close. We have a shoe together; I sponsor one of his shoes, I endorse his shoe (shows me white sneaker with blue S. Carter and Jay-Z writing). We’re really close though.

Q: How did the two of you hook up

A: Well, I told Michael Jordan that I wanted to meet him and then we both know a mutual friend and from there we just took off. That was like three years ago.

Q: How important is it to you to make that connection with someone in another profession who you admire and they also admire you

A: It was very important, but I never thought it would get to the point that it’s at now. I thought we would just be cool and stuff, but we’re like really good friends. We talk a lot and it’s just totally different. And then with me coming here that was even better because he is from here so it just worked out, it’s perfect it’s a real friendship.

Q: What kinds of expectations do you have for this season

A: I don’t really have any for myself I just want to win and whatever comes with that is just gravy basically, but if we win and we do well in the playoffs and stuff that’s the ultimate for me.

Q: Earlier this season you hit the winning shot in Houston. It seemed to give the team a boost, was there a sense of relief

A: It was a sense of relief just because I felt like the shot and the win was bigger than just that one win. I felt like it helped our team come together in terms of the camaraderie. The next night we went and played Dallas and almost had the same situation and that was a tough team playing them on their home court. So I feel like ever since then we’ve just been playing together, playing a lot better and I feel that just helped us turn the corner and was the turning point in the season.