Why the name The General?
Well, I was a very good high school player and one of my teammates coined that term for me as he thought my leadership abilities resembled that of General Grant (Ulysses S Grant 18th President of the United States). I was like aah! That sounds cool!
You’ve played alongside Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen...
Two of the best teammates I ever played with. Michael was very competitive, making us better players with every game.
Scottie played the second fiddle. He even worked hard during the off-season. We grew as a team, not as individuals and that is why we were so successful.
At Orlando Magic, you had Shaquille O’Neal...
Shaq is like a big kid off the court and a menace for the opponents on the court one of the power players who knew how to get the job done. When I first met him many years ago, he was this seven foot one inch tall guy driving to pick me up from the airport in his small Porsche. He struggled to get himself out of the car. His knees were almost on the steering wheel. He was also a brilliant rapper back in those days.
How did it feel when the Orlando coach Doc Rivers said you were a cancer on the team?
I thought he was talking about my zodiac sign, which is Cancer (laughs). It was unfortunate between he and I, he was young at that time and I was a veteran. We did not click. Sometimes, young coaches don’t know how to treat wild senior players.
Recently Pippen said LeBron James would have kicked Jordan’s ass..
I thought my friend Scottie was drinking or smoking something when he said that. He knows, we all know when it comes to Michael who is still so competitive is the best. No disrespect to LeBron, he is a great player but Michael Jordan is the daddy of them all.
So what makes Michael Jordan – The Michael Jordan?
Michael had that aura about himself. He was terrific with man-management. He would take a player under his wings and make him successful. He saw things in us which we didn’t see ourselves. We became a great unit under him.
That’s how Michael is different from a Kobe (Kobe Bryant) or a LeBron. They are not that vocal about their team.
Was Michael- Scottie the best combination ever in National Basketball Associtation (NBA)?
I would say so. They could play any position. Call it centre, defence, rebound- they were the masters of the trade.
On Indian basketball...
In Delhi, I watched three or four kids who were phenomenal.
If they get the right infrastructure and teaching or if they attend a college in the US, they have a good chance to make it to NBA. One kid was going up with his left hand though he was a right-hander and that was incredible. A team like that can score 21 points in 10 minutes.
Indians are generally not as tall or Europeans or Americans. Is it a problem?
Well that doesn’t matter. Muggsy Bogues played for 10 years at the NBA, he was five foot five inches. It is not about the size but mentality. The Indian kids have that passion, they want to learn. They need the infrastructure.
Which other Indian sport has caught your eye?
I was watching cricket on television. The amazing thing about that is the balance that a bowler has after running in and throwing the ball at the batter. And when the batter hits the ball, the timing has to be so precise. Goodness! That looked difficult to me. I would like to carry some pads back home to play at my backyard.