Bobby Medina Interview
February 5, 2008
"I want Portland to be the model franchise." - Bobby Medina
Last night following the Nuggets game, Ben Golliver from BlazersEdge sat down with Bobby Medina, the Trail Blazers' Strength and Conditioning Coach. Seated on a hard bench in the Rose Garden's in-house weight room, Mr. Medina discussed his role with the organization, the development and rehabilitation of Greg Oden, the squad's unique chemistry, and what it takes to motivate young millionaires.
BlazersEdge: I took a look in the Media Guide and saw that you're originally from UNLV and then you found your way to the Seattle Supersonics. How'd you end up in Portland?
Blazersedge: Obviously, it's a new regime now. How has that transition been for you, going from the old guard to the younger Kevin Pritchard?
Blazersedge: There was a lot of talk during the draft selection process about how the team went through the prospects point by point, trying to do a thorough job of analyzing those players. Can you talk about your role in that process? How did management and the coaches consult you?
Blazersedge: What were your first impressions of Greg Oden and Kevin Durant last spring? When you see players that talented up close it must just be an instantaneous reaction.
Blazersedge: Speaking of Greg, there's been some talk and even some concern about how big he's gotten. Is that a concern for you or was that a non-story?
Blazersedge: Over the course of your tenure in the NBA, the players have been getting younger and younger. Does that make your job harder or, counterintuitively, does it make it easier because you've got these guys in the program at an earlier age?
Blazersedge: How many years, in your experience, does it take a young body to acclimate to the 82 game schedule?
Blazersedge: Are we seeing that with Travis Outlaw right now too? He's taking huge step forwards on the court. Is that due to him completing the adjustment period that you're talking about?
Blazersedge: We've seen a lot of on-court chemistry from this group. Do they work out together as well? Do you get to see that chemistry off the court in ways that maybe the average fan doesn't get to see?
Blazersedge: We hear a lot about the "Spurs Model" of the franchise and culture that Kevin Pritchard has tried to create here in Portland. Is there a team in the NBA that has the "model" strength and conditioning program?
Right now it's mandatory for our guys to work out 10 times a month but we'll probably average 15-16 workouts per guy a month. Some guys like Greg will get in 25-30 workouts a month. Sergio Rodriguez broke Joel [Przybilla's] all time record last month with 33 workouts. He was in here everyday doing stuff. We are trying to build this right now. I want other teams and other players when they come in here and to be impressed when they see how we're doing things. I want Portland to be the model. I want people to say, "They have a nice facility, it's a mandatory workout program, the players are into it, they're excited about it, and the management is supportive of it."
If the management isn't behind you, it's very tough to make it work. Our management has done a great job of creating a great facility here in the Rose Garden and at the practice facility in Tualitan. I think we have the best facility in the NBA. In fact, I know we do, because I've seen every other facility. If somebody ever gets anything better than us, we're going to get it.
Blazersedge: Going back ten years or so, the consensus was that Michael Jordan and Karl Malone were the players in the best shape in the league. People would point at their body fat percentages and the number of minutes they played. Who would you consider, outside of the Blazers roster, to be the best conditioned players in the league?
Blazersedge: And they're three of the best players in the NBA.
Blazersedge: Last question and it's a little off-topic. Recently, Major League Baseball and to a lesser extent, the National Football League, have had to deal with ugly situations regarding Performance Enhancing Drugs, Steroids and Human Growth Hormone. Somehow, the NBA has been able to completely dodge that bullet. Why is this? Is it because of the nature of these drugs, a successful league testing policy, or something else?
Many thanks to Mr. Medina for taking the time to give such thoughtful answers to our questions and thanks to Ben for conducting the interview!