Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge addressed a small group of reporters at the Hilton Orlando on Friday, as part of a media availability for the 2012 Western Conference All-Star team.
Here are a few quick soundbytes.
I was always tall. I was 5-foot-11 in sixth grade. That's pretty tall. In seventh grade I was like 6-foot-4 and I was 6-foot-8 in eighth grade. I went from trying to learn how to dribble and shoot threes into keeping more down low. I definitely changed my game.
Loss of Greg Oden
It was tough. We have to deal with it. We've dealt with adversity over the last few years. We've gotten kind of used to getting bad news. I want to get him back healthy but we have to keep fighting.
Do you look over your shoulder because of all the center injuries?
We have a standing joke: don't ever call me center. Every center goes out. I'm always a power forward no matter what. Even if I start at center, I'm a power forward.
Favorite basketball movies
"Above The Rim" and "He Got Game." Good basketball stories and good actors.
Thoughts on being an All-Star
It kind of feels surreal right now. I don't really feel like I'm here. But I am. It definitely means more to me now that I actually made it after being snubbed. After last year, it means a lot more to me.
The excitement of getting in outweighs the low of being snubbed. I feel like when you're actually in, you're like, 'Man, I made it. I'm finally here.' The snub kind of went away after awhile.
Who has given you congratulations that you didn't expect?
Dirk [Nowitzki] came up to me and said that he was happy to see me here. He had spoken out and said I should be here. I thought that was big.
His schedule on Friday
I left Dallas at 7 a.m. so I had to get up at 6 a.m. I got here at 10:30 a.m. Landed, got in the car, was coming to the hotel, my driver took the wrong exit so we had to loop back around. Added an extra 15 minutes to the drive. Checked into the hotel, had to run and change, had to run down and do pictures and media. From that to the player's meetings, to this, and from this to the day of service.
Here's a picture of Aldridge with NBA commissioner David Stern from his day of service, via the Trail Blazers.
Reaction to potential Joel Przybilla signing
That's big. We went from last year not having any bigs to this year having a lot of bigs. That's big. He's a great defender and a great teammate. That's big having him back.
Do you think Jamal Crawford will remain as a starter?
I don't know what Nate [McMillan] is thinking. Whenever you win by whatever we won by, even without three of their guys, you have to try it out. I don't see him not starting.
(Aldridge was referring to a 40-point victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday.)
Did you ever hear from Brandon Roy regarding the All-Star selection?
What did he say?
Text message or phone call or?
It doesn't matter.
Contacting Team USA about getting back into the program
Yeah, they had invited me to two other things previously. I had some big family things going on so I had to turn it down. I think they got the impression that I didn't want to do anything with USA Basketball. I contacted them to say it's not that way. I had something going on those years but I do want to play and I'll be back.
Thoughts on Wilt Chamberlain's 100 point game
You're asking me? I only have 42 points as my career high! That's crazy good. That's way up there. [Kobe Bryant's 81] was amazing. Wilt having 100 is unheard of. That's up there when you're dreaming you do something like that. I don't see anybody doing that any more.