In this, our last conversation with the athletes participated at the very first Nike Festival of Sports, we talked with New York Knicks Power Forward Amare Stoudemire, who found something quite “phenomenal” during his visit to China. We also squeezed some time in with 19-year-old virtuoso Kyrie Irving, who just became the number one pick at this year’s NBA Draft. Finally, we also spoke to Chris Bosh about his quest to become a better player, a necessary step in his eyes for the Miami Heat to win the NBA Championship next season.
Can you describe some cultural experiences that stood out during your visit to China so far?
I will have to say the food. It is phenomenal, very fresh. Also, I’ve seen how much people love basketball and other sports here. Plus, there is a certain sense of tranquility. Its hard to explain, but you feel it, even in a busy city such as Shanghai.
Yup, there is shoe that is coming out, probably the hottest shoe in my opinion. Its call the Nike Air Max Sweep Thru.
What is your personal goal for next season?
To Win A Championship!
Which parts of your Chinese tour have had the most impact on you?
The biggest impact for me has to be my times with all these superstars. You have LeBron, Bosh, Tyson, and other NBA stars and champions. Being with them and interacting with them has been a tremendous time for me as a 19 year-old kid. Its like a dream. Now, I’m on the same level as they are and we are all in the NBA together; its like being a part of a bigger family. That’s something really special for me.
With such a high profile, you have become accustomed to being in the public eye. Since being the #1 pick, how have the pressures of being a professional in the media changed since being a high school and college star?
Media coverage definitely changes once you’re a professional. I mean the media follows you everywhere when you are a professional. When I was at Duke and in high school, I was protected. I was given recognition but still wasn’t recognized by the public. The media pressure definitely changes; you watch what you say and what you do constantly. Those responsibilities come with being a professional, and I gladly take them.
What is your most attainable goal that you have set for yourself for next season?
My goal is make a impact in the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
You have a great deal of international experience. Have you learned anything from the way the game is played in other countries?
No. While the competition was a world apart in the mid 90s or even in early 2000s, I think now it’s kind of leveling off. With the Internet and the world getting smaller, all these kids from other countries are seeing the same things as the kids in the States. They are really picking it up, so I think its really leveling off and more so. I think in the near future, the game of basketball will continue to more competitive.
As a member of the Miami Heat, you joined D-Wade and LeBron James. How long did it take you three to develop a flow on the court?
It took a long time. I think its still a work in progress. We definitely still have a long way to go. I think it was quite an accomplishment to d0 what we did last season. It was tough, but we got through it. We keep building to always get better. We just have to bring unselfishness to the court again. Our goals are to get better, be better everyday, and keep working together.
After reaching the NBA Finals last year, have your changed or stepped up your preparation for next season in any way in order to take the next step to being NBA champions?
Oh yeah, absolutely! I mean you know I think disappointment is always the greatest teacher. To get there, that far, and come up short, you seriously re-evaluate everything you have done, I have been questioning my approach, and asking myself what can I do to get better. You know, coming in next season, I’m changing my approach to the game and changing my work ethic, and trying harder to make things happen.