Andre Iguodala looked happy, relaxed and content, and yes, he was in Philadelphia. It seems like it would be hard for him to be happy in Philly.
He said the contrary.
I definitely enjoy being here, Iguodala said at a local basketball camp on Saturday. Evan Turner and I were speaking late last night. We had a really good conversation about how we can really play well together, how we can make each other better so we are looking forward to next year. We even talked about what we were going to do after practice next year. So I am definitely looking forward to improving myself and playing ball.
After Game 5 of the series against the Heat, Iguodala responded to the question: Do you expect to be a Sixer next year? with I expect to be in the NBA, followed by a missed exit interview with his coach and front office brass and lots of trade talk on draft day. It seemed like Iguodala was on his way out.
But the seven-year Sixers veteran has arrived at a place where he believes the important thing is to not let anything affect him in a negative way.
Whatever happens will happen, thats why I made the statement I did right when the season was over, Iguodala said. I am just happy to be playing basketball in the NBA. Thats my childhood dream and then it kind of got taken out of context but who wouldnt want to be living that dream? I am living the dream so why worry about things I cant control.
I am just happy to be in this position that when the season starts back up to be on a roster. Where do I want to be? It would be great to be back with the young guys along with Elton Brand and I think we have room to pick up a free agent, so it will be an exciting next year.
Trade rumors about Iguodala have become common place for the past couple years but he no longer believes that he is going to be moved.
I cant say I would be surprised, because I wouldnt be surprised, but I am not expecting it to happen, he said.
His actions would also suggest he believes he will remain a Sixer. He met with head coach Doug Collins the week leading up to the lockout.
We met for about ten minutes going back and forth on how the team can improve, he said. You know Doug is a really good seller, so he did a good job on telling me where we are going to next and his vision for where the team will be next year.
Iguodala will make his annual trip to Atlanta, where he attends Lou Williams basketball camp for kids, and then when he goes back to Los Angeles, where he has a home, he hopes to catch up Jrue Holiday.
Jrue is right down the street from me in LA but he never answers his phone, so he is hard to catch up with, Iguodala said laughing. He has been travelling a lot. His marketers push him a lot because like I have been telling people for the last two years he is going to be one of the top five point guards in this league so he has a lot going on but Im sure I will catch up with him.
Reaching out to teammates and enjoying conversations; summer vacation clearly suits the 27 year old Iguodala. In addition to his travels, Iguodala is spending time tackling his list of good summer reads.
I just read Malcom Xs new book. I got through that in China. Now I am reading Law of Attraction and I am about to start my own company so I got The Art of Start. Its on the New York Times best seller list, Iguodala said. I am about to start reading that in hopes it will help with this company I want to start. I am hiding it right now but hopefully it ends up like Facebook or something like that and when I am done playing basketball this will seem like minimum wage compared to what I make with that.
Showing a sense of humor? This is a changed man or one who has arrived at a new destination of contentment.
Iguodala was in Philadelphia this weekend to support his college friend and fellow NBA player Mustafa Shakur, who was hosting an event called Part of the Solution Community Day. Shakur grew up in Philadelphia before attending the University of Arizona and decided to start his event because he grew up always able to attend Rasheed Wallaces basketball camp. Wallace no longer runs his camp, so Shakur decided it was his turn to give back to the younger generation.
Iguodala hopes in addition to developing good basketball players, events like Shakurs stresses to youth the importance of being good people.
Growing up, Michael Jordan was the guy I looked up to, and Penny Hardaway, and both those guys were well spoken. Both those guys have the presence on the court but also off, he said. I dont want to get caught up in the how do I say this basketball players arent the brightest and they dont speak well you want to get out of that stereotype. So it has always been important to me. I think it came from my as well.
Aaron McKie was definitely a guy who always handled himself well on and off the court. I always get on him though for giving the politically correct answer. I say give me the truth, dont give me the politically correct answer. He says thats how you have to do it, sometimes it calls for that. And I am trying to understand that as I get older in this league and trying to make the most of my last seven, eight years.
E-mail Dei Lynam at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @DLynamCSN.
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