We met Landry Fields before a recent home game at Madison Square Garden. He was drafted in the second round by the Knicks last year. He went to Stanford University.
What is the biggest difference between the NCAA and the NBA?
The biggest difference between NCAA and the NBA is definitely the travel and the number of games. On the court the pace of the game is a lot faster than it was in college.
When did you first think you had the talent to become a professional basketball player?
I always wanted to play professionally. It was just something that was a day by day process getting better. Never give up on the dream. And here I am.
Who was the toughest player you had to guard and why?
There’s been a lot because there’s great players in this league. I remember particularly playing Monta Ellis of the Golden State Warriors, just cause of how quick he was, and if he’s hitting a jumper. You might as well just call it a night. I’d say him so far.
Your biography says you’re from California. Did you play any other sports there?
Growing up I played baseball and I was big into skateboarding, believe it or not. Actually I was pretty good. But I had to stop because I was too afraid to tell my basketball coach I got hurt skateboarding. That’s why I quit.
You’re a great rebounding guard. What’s your secret?
Secret to rebounding is, when it’s in the air, just go get it. That’s about it. Some anticipation on where the ball’s going to be — other than that it’s all about hard work, who wants it more.
What celebrity would you meet and why?
Celebrity I’d like to meet, we’ve met a few so far, I still haven’t met Tiger Woods, even though he went to Stanford. That’s kind of bumming me out. I’d like to meet Will Smith. Love his acting.
Do you set personal and team goals?
Yes, I definitely set personal goals. I’ve exceeded, actually, the goals I had at the beginning of the season — now I have new goals, since I’ve reached them. In terms of the team, I was trying to make the playoffs. Just proud in general.
What was the toughest obstacle you had to overcome?
Good question. Toughest obstacle I had to overcome in college, I wasn’t on any draft boards, nobody picked me to get drafted. So I had to overcome a lot of adversity from external forces. But it never got to me. It definitely allowed me to play with a chip on my shoulder and work hard everyday.
What have you learned from Coach D’Antoni?
He’s a players’ coach, he kind of allows you to go out there and not do what you want to do, but use your skills within the offense, to take each game step by step and not look ahead.
Do you think you could be rookie of the year?
I do. That’s the kind of mindset I have — in terms of if I’m good or not, we’ll see. There’s another guy playing — Blake Griffin — he’s pretty monstrous, you’ll probably see him. He’s up for rookie of the year too. He would get my vote.
If you played your dad one on one, who would win?
Right now, definitely me. Let’s be serious. If I played my dad one on one right now, I’d win. But back in the day, he would have done some damage to me. Once he knew I could beat him, he would never want to play with me again. That’s the kind of guy he is.
What advice would you give somebody who wants to be in the NBA?
Work hard and find the fun in it, because we’re out there working at something. If you don’t have fun doing it, it’s really not worth it. You get tired of it. You got to make some sacrifices along the line, but for kids like that, do what you want, have fun, do as many things as you can because that’s what I did and I’m still here. Just working hard.
Who inspired you while growing up?
I have a couple. My dad, because he played basketball as well. I was a big Lakers fan, so Kobe Bryant was my favorite player. We’re playing him on Friday. Just watching him play and the kind of work ethic he had was a big inspiration for me.
What’s the best part about living in New York City?
The best part now after playing with this team is going out and people recognizing you. That’s pretty cool. Not a big fan of the snow or the weather, because I’m from California. So all the sunny days I got growing up spoiled me for now, but it’s enjoyable out here. I love all the people and it’s very busy too.
Was there a specific team you wanted to get drafted by?
I was willing to go anyway because I just wanted to play. Wherever I went, I was going to go and try and work hard.
What would you do if you weren’t playing pro ball?
If I wasn’t playing pro ball I’d probably be doing something in law or maybe getting into some coaching.
At what age did you start playing basketball?
I started playing basketball at the age of 4. My dad got me in my first league. It was a YMCA league.
What was the most memorable moment in your college career and the NBA?
I’d say my senior night. My last game at home. It was a great experience for me because my whole family was there. The guys on my team, I love them to death. It was just an enjoyable experience for me. In terms of the NBA, so far I’d probably say it will be in the heat at home. It was a fun game.
What adjectives would you use to describe playing in Madison Square Garden?
Electric, a lot of energy, fun, so many of them, exciting, like nothing else. I know that’s not really an adjective, but a phrase to describe it would be like nothing else you’ve never seen before.
Have you always been wearing number 6?
This is actually the first year I’ve ever worn number 6. I chose it because all the other numbers I wanted were taken, so when I was growing up 31 was my number and then when I got to college number 2 was my number. So what’s 3 plus 1 plus 2 — ?
Do you do any charity work?
Yeah, we do a lot of charity work, especially the whole team, we go out. We just had a Knick’s Ball Night for the Garden’s Dream Foundation and did some clinics at a few different high schools. It’s always something nice to give back.
What’s a typical game day for you?
A typical game day for me, I wake up about 10:30-11, get some breakfast. In this league, you got to rest up, just watch some TV, kind of relax, have some lunch, shower up, get dressed, head to the game. We get here probably 31/ 2 hours before the game. Get some shooting in like you guys saw, and just chill for a little bit and get ready for the game.