Tue 30 Nov 2010
After averaging 12.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game with Golden State last year, free agent Anthony Tolliver decided to take his services to the Upper Midwest. Sensing the importance of his announcement, the 6-9 forward uploaded a one-minute video onto YouTube titled “The Decision….PART DEUX!” to inform NBA fans.
While nobody in Oakland burned his No. 44 jersey and the celebration in Minnesota was subdued, Tolliver has made a significant contribution from the Wolves bench so far this year. His high energy style of play and affable personality meanwhile, make him easy to root for.
I caught up with 25-year-old Tolliver for a quick chat following Monday’s practice at Target Center.
DZ: Your coach Kurt Rambis grinded out a long NBA career playing a position similar to you. What have you been able to learn from him since you’ve been here?
TOLLIVER: Just the importance of always playing hard. That’s always been my motto and always been my M.O., but with a guy like him, he had a very a long, successful NBA career not because of his god given abilities, not because of those types of things. It was all because of his grit, his work ethic and the things he did on the court that nobody else wanted to do. Having a guy like that be our leader is definitely a help to somebody like me that wants to become that guy for this team and any team I play for in the future.
DZ: You guys are about a month into the season now, it is obviously your first with this team. Have you settled into your role?
TOLLIVER: Of course, I feel very comfortable here now, especially on the court, but even outside the court. The city of Minneapolis is great. We are just getting better by the day. There are a lot of growing pains we are going through right now with some of the losses we’ve had, but I think here - in the near future - we are really going to get that confidence back and start rolling.
DZ: You mentioned the growing pains, you are a guy who is known for his fun personality; do you look at it as kind of your job to keep the team loose and not (allow them) to get too down when you are on a losing streak?
TOLLIVER: Yeah, there is a certain amount that goes with individuals trying to help everybody else out, but we also as individuals have to be professionals and learn how to keep ourselves in it. Obviously as a team, there are going to be days where your teammates don’t feel it so you have to pick them up and there will be days where you don’t feel it and your teammates have to pick you up. I think we have to do a good job of that and just continue to work hard.
DZ: You got a lot of unexpected attention when you announced you were coming to Minnesota on YouTube. When you guys played down in Miami earlier this year, did Lebron end up saying anything about that to you?
TOLLIVER: No, not about the video, but we said “What’s up” to each other and kept it moving. We know each other - I was with Cleveland my rookie year for about a month or so. He doesn’t have any problems with and I don’t have any problems with him. It was just funny how the media kind of blew that up.
DZ: You mentioned you were with Cleveland (in 2007), when you are a new guy coming in, kind of a fringe guy - you said you were there about a month - how much do you interact with a superstar like Lebron?
TOLLIVER: Here and there. Obviously on the court, you get to play with him a little bit and you play against him a lot (in practice). Off the court, not a lot because you don’t really know him yet, he doesn’t really know you yet. It’s not like we became best friends, but at the end of the day, I know him well enough to know him pretty well as a person and everything like that. Like I said, when I made “The Decision….PART DEUX!” a lot of people thought I was making fun of Lebron or whatever and that’s the last thing I was doing really. It was just funny how it kind of blew up like that.
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