SHANGHAI, CHINA - AUGUST 21: (CHINA OUT) American professional basketball player LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trail Blazers attends NIKE Promotional Event on August 21, 2011 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)
Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge joined John Canzano on 750 The Game to promote his charity game in the Chiles Center at the University of Portland on Sunday, Nov. 6. You can listen to the interview here.
The following is a transcript of the interview. Questions are paraphrased and in bold; answers are word-for-word and in blockquote.
Why host the charity game?
"I definitely miss the game of basketball. I miss playing in Portland. It's been awhile since I've heard [Blazers radio broadcaster Brian Wheeler] Wheels say anything like he said on the intro. I definitely miss playing up there. I think this is a way to give Portland a little short fix on basketball until this thing works out. It's a way for me to give back to some charities that I've been working with closely."
On his current condition
"I'm in pretty good shape. I don't think you can get into basketball shape until you play every day or play an NBA game every day. Guys can go play open gym but you won't get into game-game shape until you're playing 35 or 38 minutes a game on the back-to-back. I definitely am in good shape but I can't say I'm in game shape."
Frustrated by lockout?
"I am. I definitely love this game. That's why I play the game. I love it. It's my passion. It's what I want to do every day. To not be able to play is frustration for me."
Hard to recruit roster for charity game?
"Right now, guys aren't really playing organized basketball so it wasn't overly hard to get guys that I know to come and support me. It wasn't overly hard. I played in the Kevin Durant game up in Oklahoma so that was a good avenue for me to network. Guys want to play. I'm trying to get Jamal Crawford to come to Portland so I had to make sure he came."
What to expect at charity game?
"I think it's definitely to play basketball and to give Portland some more basketball. I've been hearing about games in Miami and everywhere else, but the city of Portland hasn't had any love so this is my way of bringing basketball back. It's just to show that us players -- we love basketball, we want to play. By guys flying to Portland, coming way up there to play one game, that shows how much guys like basketball."
"Darnell Valentine will be one of the coaches. He will coach my team probably. It's about the fans. Go out and have fun. Make a good show."
"It's all in fun. My goal for the game is to have excitement first through third -- and in the fourth quarter really try to compete and to win. First through third, letting some guys get easy dunks, keeping it competitive, but in the fourth quarter, really going hard and trying to win."
"I continue to build bulk. Last year that was pretty big for me. I think that's when my game went to the next level. Opportunity and getting stronger."
"Trying to work on going left. I went right all my life. People say it's so simple, but it's not. It's like driving on the left side in a car here, but going to Europe and driving on the other side. It's not going to be comfortable for a really long time. I've really, really tried to focus on that."
"He's actually playing in the game so I think that's going to be exciting for the fans. See him in person. I definitely think that he brings a dynamic to the team that we didn't have, as far as like going to the basket, being fast, getting up and down the floor, pushing the ball more, where teams tried to double team me. If I run the floor, he pushes the ball and we can get into sets faster. Have more time if they do double-team me. I think he will help."
On his playing weight
"I don't want to be one of these guys... I play at 247 or 248. I don't want to be one of these guys that come back at 255 or 260 and one of my strengths in being mobile is gone. I'm doing more reps, trying to get stronger with reps rather than going to the weight room and trying to put 300 pounds on there, squatting and lifting it. Doing more movement type things, keep getting faster and stronger."
On the ongoing lockout negotiations
"Fans can't understand the whole dynamic of what's going on. It's a negotiation. We've given a lot. I know people are saying that it's 2 percent, but we went from 57 to 52.5. We've given up a lot. It's not on us to give now. It's on the owners to meet us halfway. We've given up what they gave us last time. We didn't go ask for 57 percent. They gave it to us. We can't go from that to 52 because we're going to be hurting guys who are trying to get league minimum, guys who are in the league one or two years. They are going to have it that much harder."
Seen Greg Oden?
"I haven't. I haven't really seen him. I've talked to him through text. He says he's been doing really well. He's doing good. Hopefully that still stands."
Final pitch for charity game
"It's a great charity game. We have some great guys. We have Brandon back on the floor. We have Jeff Pendergraph who left with an injury last season. We have Jamal Crawford. Ray Felton for the first time in Portland as a Blazer. I think it's going to be fun. It's going to be fun for the fans and fun for us. It's going to help raise money for a good cause."
My family is doing well. My mom is cancer-free. She was diagnosed with cancer about a year ago. She fought through it. Had some tough times, had some great times, but now she's cancer-free. It's been big for me to be here [during the lockout] for her during this time when she's finished up, now she's doing really, really well.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter