I was able to get five minutes with Jerryd Bayless at the end of practice today so I tried to touch on some non-basketball related questions to learn a little more about @JBay_5. We didn’t get too in-depth on any particular topic, but were able to hit the basics. My favorite thing about Bayless is his intensity. If you search the @stackmack Twitter archives from last season, there are sure to be some Bayless-related hashtags from me, especially when the Blazers were the nightcap on TNT Thursdays. I like his game, love the focus and I’m glad he’s getting a shot here in Toronto.
For someone who shares so many of his thoughts and experiences on his blog, he’s quieter than I expected when speaking one-on-one, but hopefully this sheds a little light on one of the newest members of the Raptors. As the season goes forward, I’ll try to get more with Bayless, but in the meantime, be sure to bookmark his official site, set to launch this week.
Holly MacKenzie: Who introduced you to the game of basketball?
Jerryd Bayless: Seriously introduced me, Frank Johnson, the old coach of the Suns. He introduced me to it and really helped me get to where I am right now.
HM: How old were you?
JB: Probably eight or nine. I used to play all sports, but basketball took its toll and I fell in love with it.
HM: Would you say he is one of your mentors today?
JB: Him or my mom or my dad. One of those three.
HM: Who was your favorite player growing up?
JB: Allen Iverson, probably.
HM: Is there a certain Iverson moment or NBA moment that’s your favorite?
JB: There’s so many great NBA moments I don’t know if there are just a couple that really stick out to me like that.
HM: We’ve all seen your intensity on the floor. Is that something that translates off of it, or is your offcourt demeanor totally different?
JB: No (laughs). I think everybody is seeing that off the court I’m pretty easy going, pretty quiet. On the court, I just want to go out and play and do whatever I need to do to win.
HM: What’s a normal day like for you during the season?
JB: Practice in the morning and then do whatever I want afterward and then come back at night and do some more stuff, but that depends on how I feel, how my body feels.
HM: When you come back is that generally shooting you work on or watching tape, or something else?
JB: That depends. It’s a little bit of everything, depends on what I feel I’ve got to fine-tune and what not.
HM: When you leave practice and do “whatever you want to do” what are those things? What do you like to do when you’re not playing basketball?
JB: I love ping-pong. That’s one of my favorite things to do. Obviously, I write the blog. That takes a lot longer, probably, than people expect. Doing all of the things that you put into it. I just kinda hang out. Hang out with some friends.
HM: Is writing something you’ve always enjoyed?
JB: Yeah. English was always my favorite topic in high school. It always came easier to me than other things.
HM: You get pretty personal on the blog. What’s the best part about having it?
JB: Just being able to share things. Being able to tell things that are on my mind. Truthfully, basketball was one of the things that I wanted to stay away from when I started it, but being traded these last couple of times…a lot of people had been asking me about it so I wrote that. For the next couple of ones I’ll probably get outside of basketball again.
HM: What type of reaction do you get from fans? I think they’d really appreciate a player taking the time to share so much of their story.
JB: In Portland I did an interview about blogs and I was talking about a lot of times when we’re on the road, people talk to me more about my blog than about basketball. I’ve gotten a really good reaction and it’s been very positive.
HM: What are you thinking about Toronto thus far?
JB: I love Toronto. I’ve told Bryan, I’ve told Jay I want to make this work and be here as long as possible. As long as they want me here, I want to be here. I love the city, I love the fans. I love everything about it. I just want to make this work. I want to be here for as long as they want me here. If that’s the rest of my career, I want to be here that long.