July 29, 2021

NBA player Kevin Huerter on working in silence, title hopes & remembering his roots.

My old high school teammate joins me for some reminiscing and to tell me about life in the NBA.


Good morning, everyone. Welcome into another episode of The Troy Farkas Show, a podcast is not about me. It's about all of us. The twenties are a crucial time in our lives. And on this show, we navigate the highs and lows of early adulthood together. Thank you for joining me if this is your first time joining me, like I imagine it might be for a lot of the listeners of today's show.

This is a podcast. I talked to other people in their twenties, primarily. Yeah. In their twenties. We actually had our first guest that's in their thirties on last week. But we talk about people who are going through the grind. And oftentimes it's just everyday people. It's my friends, there's people I've met or people that I know, friend of a friend or it's people that I've just reached out to on my own, whether that's business owners, we've had people who appeared on TV.

We've had professional athletes, Lyle Thompson. Best lacrosse players in the world. And today we're having on Kevin Huerter, who is a guard for the Atlanta Hawks. He is just a few weeks removed from finishing up an incredible post-season run with the Hawks. The Hawks lost to the bucks and the Eastern conference finals.

Getting to a point in the playoffs where honestly, no one was choosing them to get to. At one point during the season, I'd asked Kevin if he wanted to come on the pike. And he'd said to wait until the end of the season, because he wanted to give me his full undivided attention. Obviously the season runs quite long.

Uh, but when he said that, I think it was just after the all-star break. So I said, all right, the Hawks will be. Out in, you know, there'll be out, they won't make the playoffs. So Kevin and I will get to talk just after the season wraps, well unluckily for the show, but luckily for Kevin and the Hawks, um, they went super far into the postseason and Kevin assured me that he would come on after the season.

So we have reached that point, super excited for you all to hear my talk with Kevin Huerter, who is a kid that I've known for forever. I first met Kevin when I was in third grade. Rec basketball. I'm on the orange team and Kevin and Tom and Tom's dad are all a part of the purple team. The orange team played the purple team in the championship, and I never heard of the Huerters before Tom was really good.

He was in second grade and Kevin was in first grade and these guys were just running it for the purple team. I think Kevin was on this team. I'm pretty sure I'm remembering this correctly, but Tom was definitely on the team, but that was the first time that the Huerters became a thing in my life. And they stayed there.

For whatever replayed AAU together. Um, they were on the team below me, but so I always got to see them play. Cause my team was playing after theirs, whether it was an AAU or the Clifton park travel circuit and yeah. I watched Kevin for the years, played with them every now and then in fall ball at basketball camps.

And then, uh, starting in when Kevin was in, uh, eighth grade was the first time that I played with him in high school. When I was on JV as a sophomore, I played JV again as a sophomore, he was there as an eighth grader, and then I went to varsity for the next two years and he followed me there and Kevin was always so good.

He was, he always had such a good shot, high IQ. Was the smartest player on the floor. Wasn't always the most athletic, uh, or anything like that. But the kid knew the game. He helped me out so much with understanding plays cause my basketball IQ was not very high. And so he was always huge in helping me become a better player.

I think I pushed him physically at that point too, to get better and to put up with, with defenders and people who are going to get super physical with them. So, uh, so many good years, so many good car rides. Some were spent together in a grueling off-season program, whether that's in the mornings, the afternoons or the evenings, we went through the ringer together.

And you remember the grind that you go through with your high school teammates. It's kind of a bond that is forged forever. And you've heard me talk with Jay Kix several times on the show. He's a guy that will be a part of my life forever because of that grind. And I ran into Tommy Huerter a couple of weeks ago and we talked for awhile and, uh, I'm super excited to.

Talk with Kevin today. We're going to talk about a bunch of things. Of course, we're going to talk about his career and the MBA. Some of the things that he's working on in the off season, what it's like to have such a big contract and what might happen on the next contract that he's going to get here in the coming future.

And also. On this podcast, we talk a lot about self-improvement and self-development and getting better and determining what's important. We're going to talk about a lot of those things and, uh, I'm super excited for, for all of you to listen to it. Watch this conversation instead it is over on the 

Troy Farkas YouTube channel. Go to YouTube, hit subscribe, hit that little bell, and you can see all of the full episodes and some highlights from the show. As well. So without further ado, here's my conversation with Kevin Huerter and guard for the Atlanta Hawks. Enjoy.

it's about the end of July eight years ago today, I would have been driving around Clifton park on my way to like my third basketball practice of the day, because our summers were super intense and today's guest on the podcast would have been in my backseat. Probably making some inappropriate 15 year old jokes like you're known to do at that time.

And we were probably blaring Drake or whatever was hot at the time. And today's guest is Kevin Huerter. You all know him as the, uh, guard for the Atlanta Hawks who just are fresh off a deep Eastern conference. Finalist run Kevin, super pumped to talk to you today. Thanks for joining me. Taking time out of your busy schedule.

I want to reminisce, I want to talk about the MBA. I want to talk about your business endeavors. So many things I want to talk to you about. Thank you for joining me. Good to see you. Sure, my man, it's good to be on. Thank you for it. That was an interesting intro. I've got it. I always drove over, so I always change it up.

My goal today is to ask you questions that you haven't really been asked about before. I'm not going to ask you about your welcome to the MBA moment, which was Kevin Duran swishing, a three in your face or about, you know, what was it like the first time you played LeBron? No, we're going to talk about the nitty gritty stuff that the hardcores know about.

So I want to first talk to you today about when. Let's go back to 2013. That was our last full summer playing together. Now me and you, and we're on the same team three years in a row, we grew up playing together, you know, grew up down the street from one another. So we were always kind of around each other for a number of years.

And it's so cool seeing where you are now, knowing that we have that history, but eight years ago, if I would have told you at lunch break of Koubek camp that we were probably working at, if I would have told you that, Hey. You're going to go D one, you're going to go to Maryland and you're going to be there for only two years.

You're going to go to the NBA, be drafted in the first round by the Atlanta Hawks and in one of your first, oh, by the way, you're going to make a couple million dollars in the process and you're going to go deep into the Eastern conference finals, lose against the team. That's gonna win the finals and you're going to play against one of the best players, if not the best player in the league.

If I told all of that to you eight years ago, what would you do? I mean, I would have signed up for that ride, I mean, on the spot. But I know, I feel like in a lot of ways I want to doubted you, um, you know, but that's kinda just your, my whole life. I've always tried to stay in the moment. So I feel getting ahead of myself and thinking that far into the future.

That's not really kind of how I live my life. And so at the time when it was, I loved basketball, um, I was loving so far where I had taken me all the friends that I've made up to that point and Clifton park playing for travel teams. You know, I used to grow up and think the coolest thing was, was traveling to Massachusetts and getting to stay in a hotel and big dumb bitches and just all the things the game had already given me.

Um, Has been unbelievable so far. So I probably would have believed you at the time I would have signed up for it. Just kind of went along for the ride and just again, seeing her in my life take. So had you ever considered at that point, what you thought your basketball future might've been, whether it was the MBA, whether it was maybe just coaching or playing overseas or anything like that?

It was one of those things. Even now, I guess in this point in my life, I couldn't ever see myself outside of basketball. And so I knew I loved the game. Um, growing up, I guess in my own age level, I was always one of the better players in our town. And then as I grew up kind of wearing one of the better players in the area, but it wasn't something I was thinking about your, I want to go to the NBA.

It was when I was growing up, it was, I love seeing a basketball at San Jose. All those guys were like my idols and growing up around the game and being a ball kid, there was like, I want to go play at Sienna. Then as you get older, things kind of changed, but it wasn't something that I started thinking about the MBA.

I started thinking about trying to go to college, um, in high school, trying to play for USA basketball team. It was everything just kind of came along slowly. And I only looked at whatever was directly right in front of me of trying to achieve it. And, um, It's been a great run, obviously, ever since now, a lot of, of us on the same team Hicks, OB Hardy, all of us, we would kind of like talk behind your back in a way round you and Tom's back and say like, how are they so good?

Because the way that you got good, when we were growing up was you gotta be at the Y getting up a thousand times. Every day in the summer, you've got to be playing over at the commons, doing all your fancy dribbling drills. That was what we did to get good. And you and Tom were never there. And we were just like, how do these guys so good?

Are they just that naturally gifted that they don't need to practice whatsoever? Cause that was my impression of you guys. But then I come to find out via back channels that you and Tom were kind of like practicing in this secret jam or something that was somehow attached to your dad's business or something like that.

Like how did you guys get so good? Yeah. I mean, it was there, isn't a, there isn't a simple answer to that. Um, and we went on, I mean, we went through the pickup, the fall league stuff, you know, we were at that type of thing. I don't think we were as much we to go to the YMC as much. Yeah. When we were growing up, there was this place we call the info label.

It's off exit nine it's. Uh, so you guys know Mr. Du for he is a warehouse and my dad used to rent out space in his warehouse and together they built like a half basketball court in the back corner of it trying to be like, kind of hidden secluded. It was, again, it was meant to be a warehouse for a business, not executive sports facilities, so they weren't allowed there legally weren't allowed to have it in there, but so they put, uh, they put a half basketball court.

And that was kind of just where we went and we would go there late at night. It was, it was our gym. We had the keys to it. Um, as you got older, we grew out of it again, it was only really a half court. Um, so it was great when we were kids. And, you know, if we had a travel game on the weekends, I remember we'd go show up there at 9:00 AM, get a hundred shots up and go over to the gym and play a game at 11, whatever it was that was kind of our spot.

Um, we use CNN a lot. Obviously we would go down there. Uh, we use our driveway a lot. You know, we were, I remember in middle school, my brother and I in the winter. You're good enough. Before the bus came, we're doing workouts and our garage and Thomas had these, these platforms, strengths, shoes that he hated and I hated doing pull-ups and it was just kind of this whole workout.

Our dad used to make us do and then go shower quick and make the bus. So, um, there's a lot of time spent behind closed doors. I feel like everyone, to an extent has one of those stories about, you know, how they, what they used to do in their growing up and things to get better. But it's a combination of a lot of different things that, um, obviously a lot of people don't know.

Interesting. Okay. I never knew that. What was it like playing for your dad? Your dad was your coach primarily growing up, um, for your travel teams and AAU teams. What was it like playing for your dad and then going home to dad and I was on some of those car rides. It wasn't always brilliant. It was tough.

I mean, he's still my coach with his dad or he's still texting. You know, before Gabe was trying to get me a scatter report on the guy who thinks they're gonna be guarded. And he's like, Hey, this guy wants to pump that up because God is going to try and draw files. And he's, he's still got his coach in him.

So, um, he's, he's trying to fix my shot every, all the above. But back in the day, if you guys, if anybody puts a park in the capital district, you know, my dad, you know, he's a tense and you know, he's someone that he isn't afraid to yell. He, isn't afraid to tell you how he feels. He isn't afraid to be hard on you.

Get on you, whether he's your kid or not. I guess growing up, playing for him, um, being a son, being on the team, she tried to treat us, I guess, like everybody else, you know, expected the same out of LC with somebody else. And, um, then we got to hear the private conversations in the car on the way home where really let us here.

He always did a great job growing up. He was able to always flip the switch and it felt like, you know, keep coached when he was at the games, he coached to some extent, and we were in the car on the way back to kind of how we felt. And then we'd walk in the dorm and mom would have dinner ready, and we'd all sit down at the table.

He became our dad. So it was, he always did a great job of flipping the switch, but it doesn't mean that he wasn't really intense. He still intends to stay. I don't know if you want to go sit in a playoff game with them, but, um, someone that, um, Yeah, I'll never take for granted ever see everything he's done so far now.

So we played Shen basketball together, which I don't know if you've obviously spoken to a lot more to kids on the AAU circuit, the travel circuit in college about what their high school experience was like. So, you know, better than I, but I would guess that there's not many high school basketball programs like ours.

The off season was harder and more intense than the actual season does Springs. The summers before school lifts, afterschool lifts, training sessions with personal fitness trainers and with basketball trainers and shooting machines sessions, which we went to a lot of, it was really intense and it was a lot and the coaches were really hard on us.

When you look back on that time, playing Shen basketball, what were some of the things that you took away from that, that have set you up to where you are? I just say, you know, I was, I feel like I was taught to work at a young age and that both came from my father, but that also came from, you know, shank coach D and everything that the program brought.

I mean, they really, they taught you how to work. They showed you what work hard can look like. Even though sometimes it might've been a little too much. Um, as a lot of players like look back and you compare it to other. Players' experiences. And at this level, other peoples, their high school experience might not be the same, but it's all you got to work hard.

And that was something that you can never say is that we weren't in the gym and we weren't always prepared. Um, you know, we didn't do our homework. It was one of those things that coach the account, always a lot of ways, they forced you to do mostly work hard. It forced me to be in the gym. So I think that's the biggest takeaway I take from it.

Um, I always remember a conversation coach that you had with me my ninth grade year. Well, he told me he was going to be hard on me, the rest of my career. And that if he wasn't someone that I didn't hate half the time when he wasn't doing his job correctly, trying to make you better, that's kind of been kind of in his Mo know, we have a great relationship to this day, but, you know, shut basketball was, it was a lot of fun, but whatever the saying is on the back of the shirt, not working hard is that acceptable?

I feel like every day was a impediment. Amen. One of my favorite things about you is your competitiveness. You, you hate to lose. And, um, the people who really make it are the ones that have that work ethic, like we were developing and the ones who are super competitive and want to outwork you and outscore you and all of these things.

So I remember so many nights, Kevin, when we're at open gym that begins at seven o'clock, we do our workouts and then we scrimmage we're supposed to be out of there by like nine. But if you're on Kevin's team and Kevin loses Kevin, doesn't like to end on a loss. So Kevin's like, Nope, we're running it back.

We're playing the 21 again, we're staying until 10 o'clock until I win. So that competitiveness has always been there and I love watching it play out on the court. Yeah, I remember. I mean, I definitely remember that. I, Hey, you can't walk into the gym and Ms. Shidah came walk out of the gym on a loss. And I remember it comes on, I was getting into fights with people about how they're talking about they got to go home and do homework.

And, um, I guess the time wasn't acceptable, excuse me. You gotta hit to lose. You gotta hit to lose more than we love to win. Um, I think everyone that Jim was kind of like that, you know, I wasn't the only one, I think, you know, everyone, the gym there, there was really heated games or competitive. And, um, some that I haven't forgotten at this point, I'm sure you haven't forgotten everyone was there, but those open gyms, those were, those were masters.

Yeah. So a lot of people, when they, you know, get to be of your stature where people know them or tweeting about them, talking about them household. Um, a lot of them tend to let that all get to their heads and they kind of lose their roots. They lose sense of where they came from, the people that got them there.

How do you try to make sure that you don't leave behind where you came from it and the people that helped you out? Yeah. You know, that, that happens a lot. Um, I think the easiest, I try to keep in touch with a lot of people back at home. You know, my high school friends are still people that I talk to daily and my family or people I talk to.

Um, all of the people that used to cover me in high school, all the channel 10, that the channel eight, all the, all those, the media people that, you know, and try to talk to him over the course of the year are treated the exact same. And, um, just try not to let them get too far out of my life and, you know, Clifton park it's, it's obviously, it's where I grew up.

I'll always have roots there always had love for there. You know, hopefully within the next couple of years, Know, bringing this athletic facility, trying to break camps to the area, um, continuing Cubex camps. And you know, there's a lot of different things of you. I hope to have my fingerprints still on the area and the 508.

And are they a big reasons that I was just not falling out of touch with people and ended up talking to people daily and some, I actively try to. On a similar note, when you have these things, people knowing you, you've obviously got some money in your back pocket now, and again, you are a, you know, a low key celebrity.

Now, a lot of people let that get to their heads because there's so many people telling them how great they are and people looking up to them. And so a lot of people kind of lose their way. I was talking about this on a podcast couple of weeks ago, where. For example, you know, a band comes out with a new song and it goes to the top of the charts and they're a one hit wonder cause they can't replicate it and they let all of that iteration and success get to their heads.

So how do you make sure that you don't let any of this outside shatter, uh, telling you how great you are and how great your game six was, whatever, and, uh, make sure that you stay true to who you are and being humble and all that. Yeah. I mean, it's, for me, nothing's changed, you know, every, every time I feel like I reach a goal of mine, did you set a new one?

And there's still so many personal goals for myself that I still want to achieve. And that's something that drives me every day. And. We make it to the Eastern conference finals this year, next year, they might have them, like, let's make the farmers next to a little bit swimming. Let's do the whole thing.

Um, for me, it's always as, as a professional player, as anyone who's working in the world, you have a contract, you gotta show up to work and that contract at some point runs out and it's, you know, how can you get the next contract? And for me, that next contract is coming up. And so that's something that's always on my mind.

Growing up when I was in high school, it was like I said, it's, you know, what's college. Let me work hard. Let me get to this. And you get to college. And for me, I want play in summer is how can I play on this basketball team? I played for USA team and then sophomore year it's, it's trying to win more in Maryland.

And then finally you get to a point where I was looking at the NBA and it's how do you, so everything is always a step. And I feel like that's how I've always tried to look at things are steps and not skipping steps. And at this point in my life, You know, obviously I think at some point in my career, I'll be able to look back and feel proud of everything that I accomplished, but I'm not at this point, I'm trying to look back at things I've done still a lot of things to look forward to still trying to achieve for you right now.

What, what do you see as the biggest holes in your game? The things that you need to work on to try to make sure that you can do everything in your power to, to get the team back to the finals next year. Yeah, continuing to try to be a complete player. Um, in a lot of ways, the playoffs were eyeopening for me, you know, being on the court, just the level of physicality, of the level of players in the playoffs, the benches shorten a lot.

So every team's best players are on the court for most of the games and just try and reach a new level, you know, just trying to overall just become a better player, a better defensive. So continue to work on my body. Um, some of the bigger wings I was guarding this year, it's biased Harris, the Ben Simmons, and being able to physically stay with those guys and offensively, um, probably become a little bit more consistent.

Obviously I had a couple of games where I look good, but then there are games where I feel like I played as well. So just overall improving consistency. So there's a lot of things are going to, it's not always a simple answer. I feel like it never really is may, but, um, overall game again, it's something I'm looking forward to continuing to work on it.

There's a lot of skills that you can see. You can see a person shooting ability, passing ability, but one thing that that's kind of hard to gauge is confidence. And you have always been a very confident player. I mean, any time that I have watched you play growing. You believe that you are the best player on the court, you might not actually be the best player on the court, but you always believe that you already won on your hands.

You want to take all the shots DMBA. Now obviously the level of competition is a much more increased now. So you might not be the best player on the court. So how do you make sure that you are staying confident and are still trying to have that same mindset that you always have? Yeah, I feel like that started young and I'm sure everyone has this.

Who's going to listen to this. I feel like there's, there's certain things that you hear. There's certain quotes kind of throughout your life that you never truly forget. And it's kind of just something for whatever reason. I'm not in certain moments. You always go back to at one time, this person said this to me.

And you think about it for some reason that can kind of carry with you for the rest of your lives. I remember it started my dad. I remember when I was younger. No, I think we went a game and I was nervous, or I was talking about how I was nervous or maybe after the game, I forget the, the situation, but he just told me like, confidence is all about preparation.

He's like, it's, if you're not confident in your preparation is if you didn't prepare for a game you to practice, of course, you're not going to go to a big counseling. So if you, if you did prepare through practice the day before or the night before you've been working towards this goal, whatever it is.

That you should have all the confidence in the world because you know, you're prepared for, what's kind of like a test and that's what he alluded to him. And then I fast forward a couple of years, I remember with coach Krista doula Shen baseball team, and this was a totally different sport, but it's kind of something that I think about now in the NBA is.

He told us we were getting ready for our, I think it was a sectional playoff gamers, you know, I might've been a junior or something. And he told her on the team that you can't be too excited the whole day. Like if you, if you're too excited that you're going to be worn out by the time it's game time. And so I feel like in some ways I always think about that of having this calmness of almost not allowing myself to get excited for a game until you arrive at the game until you're for me in my head, like allowed to be excited for it.

And. So if I know I'm going in everything, and if I'm knowing, going into such certain situations in a practice for it, I prepared for something I've worked towards. And then if I keep my excitement to a minimum until actual game time, then you'll mentally, I feel like I'm usually pretty good spot when that game is ready to start.

I want to ask you about something that I feel like not enough people talk about. People think that the life of a professional athlete is super good. People know you you've got money, you're going out on the town and people want to be around you, et cetera, et cetera. But like you're playing an 82 game season.

You are on the road all the time. You're playing on Friday and Saturday nights. Like say what you want about what you do for a living, but you know, that's valuable real estate as a young person. Like I think the life of an NBA player is quite hard. So the 82 game season, how however many months long, that is what is the grind physically and mentally of the season, like.

Yeah. And grind is grind is the only word to describe it. Um, especially it's it's it really is. It's a marathon. And the tough part about being an NBA player is that there's very little balance in your life. You know, you go to where for eight months out of the year, you're super serious to play in almost every other day.

Your diet super strips. You know, your social life is limited to usually one or two drinks, and then you're going to bed. If you're smart about it, um, And it's just, it's a long year. You look forward to the many breaks. You look forward to the all-star breaks. You look forward in some ways, when you're losing you look forward to the off season that there's just very little balanced.

And then all of a sudden you get to the off season five months. Summit, you don't have to work and you can pick your schedule and you can pick and choose when you want to be social. And for the most part, you can be social as much as you want to. And so it's really, it's a big, it's a big balancing act of how you got to look at it.

But I mean, during the course of the year, it was tough. I, you know, my, my first year in the NBA was for my own age group. All my friends were juniors and seniors in college. And so, like I said, I'm on, it's a Saturday night. I'm in Oklahoma city. Or I'm in Boston or whatever, and my snap stories or everyone out, everyone posts and everything, and it's all my buddies.

And so of course, I'm sitting in my hotel room, we got a game the next night I'm watching Netflix. And I was like, damn, like, I really want to be out right now. And, and then same thing happened the next year. And then all of a sudden you get to the summer. And again, there's, it's just a huge balancing act of, um, To the total extreme.

So, um, it'd be a player that you talked about the, the attention, and everyone's trying to look into that. I wished at some point there was an off switch where at some point you can get away from it all. And that's where it's truly, it's great to be in your own house, but, um, it's never something I want to give up again.

This is something you kind of dream for you, you get to this level and you take everything that comes with it. Obviously, sometimes it's turned off, but at the end of the day, There's a glamorous life. It's it's you love to do it. You know, you travel around the world, um, getting paid to play a game. So you got to keep that mindset, even though it gets to be a grind, just like anything else, it is a job.

And when you get to game 60 and you're on the road for your seventh day in a row, you're reminded that it is still a job. It's not always just a game. So, um, there's a good and bad. And there's probably a lot of people. This usually just happens with professional athletes or anyone who gets big in a quick amount of time.

A lot of people maybe from your past or who don't know you or from the new town that you're in, they just kind of like start trickling in and you're like, and they text you, they track your number down somehow. And you're like, I haven't spoken to you in 12 years. Like I helped you out with your homework once and now you want to come visit me or something like that.

Uh, w what is that like, trying to separate out who. Is actually important in your life and actually means something to you. And then just someone who just like, kind of wants a PCU. Yeah, that happens. Um, you're familiar. Uh, I try to be nice to everybody. If it's a text it's quick text back, you know, it might not be a full conversation just trying to hit them back.

Um, for me, a lot of that attention comes in the form of tickets still. I'm going to town, my family member, my friend that I haven't seen her, hasn't been to a game 10 years, wants to come to a game. All of a sudden, um, I love my parents handle most of that. You know, I kinda tell my dad, I'm like, Hey, if we're on the road in New York, I got eight tickets everyone's texting you on.

I'm not dealing with it. And anytime people come to Atlanta, you know, I can get it usually as many as they want, but they're, my family helps out a lot with that, um, with that kind of thing. But at the end of the day, it's still, people are just trying to be nice. You're trying to be in your life. They, they want a small piece of you.

They want a small piece of the ride and, um, just try to treat them with respect to them. At the end of the day, I won't see them. What was it like putting on a show at a sold out Madison square garden? Just a couple of weeks ago. Uh, that was, that was fun. MSG is everything they say about MSG. It's like the first number one to MSG is the Mecca of basketball.

And I think every player who's ever played. MSG has said at some point it's the Mecca of basketball. It's the greatest stadium in the country. And that's like, what you're supposed to say. I feel like once we got in the playoffs, because we played on the radio seasons for third year, once you're out of the playoffs, it was like, okay, this place is actually different.

Like this is unlike any other Rian I've ever played against and played a game against a crowd. But like, it was absolute mayhem. Like we were running on the court 20 minutes before the game in our own arena. Three days later, like it was half full with people. Check on it. We were walking into the game and it was like, it was, it was the fourth quarter with two minutes left.

It was, it was just chaotic. It was loud. We're getting booed as around the corner. And it's just like, I got chills running down my arm. Um, that was awesome. It's an atmosphere. It's not, it's a lot of fun to play. And even though it's not a lot of fun to play and I tell them my buddies. Now, if there's one thing you need to do in sports, you need to get to a playoff game and MSG.

It's the craziest atmosphere I've ever been at. And I don't know. I honestly don't know if it could be tough. I don't know. I feel like you might thrive in that environment. I feel like you could play up a villain role or play it. Like you get better. If people are booing, if you hit a three, you might just be like, come on louder.

Let me hear it. Let's go. I feel like you would thrive in that. Well, it was more like my legs for that game. I had like the best legs of my life. I feel like I could have like kissed the rim with how high I felt like I was jumping just for all the adrenaline. It is, it's like the energy in the building, you feed off of it and you feed off of that hate in a lot of ways.

I'm sure that they set off in a different way, but yeah, we went into that building and you have 80,000 people. We're hoping you're loose and you get to be the guy that's, um, it is, it's fun being that villain. Um, you can't let it eat you alive. Obviously. There's there's people that let that happen, but I do flip the switch a little.

Um, it's tough. I mean, I, I'm going to just remember that feeling. We were running the court getting booed by 18,000, like 20 minutes on the shot clock for warmups. And I just got like the biggest goosebumps running down my leg and I was like, I'm ready to go. Like, it was chaos. Oh, I remember those days of being in the Shen gym and just being so high that I feel like I can dunk, even though I can't dance.

So obviously Atlanta is your favorite place to play, but what is your other favorite place to play? Like when you're on the road? Where do you just absolutely love going city or arena wise? Yeah, I think that's some I try to do as a, as a rookie, I try to appreciate arenas. I try to go into different arenas and in some ways, see how like the character and the, the era of the arena takes form of whatever city we're in or whatever team we were on.

And so a couple of like gold state doesn't play an Oracle anymore. Golden state Oracle arena felt like NSG, but on the west coast, like that was, it was a really cool arena that they don't plan anything. Um, I love going to Boston. Boston has a nice atmosphere, nice arena. There's certain ranges. Every NBA arena feels big.

Like the ceilings feel big, the baskets like that, the fans feel so far away behind the basket. It's kind of something we have to get used to. Um, even in college, the random, you know, adulty games that you've played in NBA arena, it's it is an adjustment, but there's some ranges that just feel more intimate.

They feel like, you know, fans are a little bit closer to the core. It feels louder and it doesn't feel as spread out and like the Pacers aren't one of those arenas, um, Celtics, Nick. That will Oracle arena was really cool in some ways, Miami trying to feel like that. Yeah. Um, so there's, so those are the ones I think I remember at the time I had just kind of like the crown atmosphere.

But, you know, in other one, I think Dallas, Dallas is one of those that feels huge. Like you walk into the room and you kind of look up and it's, it's just like massive. And, and they, I don't know what they sell it out, but it felt like we were playing there. They degrade atmosphere. So it's something I feel like I get out there usually early to court and I just kind of sit down and I kind of take it all in and look around, um, try to feel out the atmosphere.

Some ways to try to remind yourself you're in the NBA and you try to appreciate it for a second. I love that you always got to be in the present moment and just kind of taking a step back and moving herself from the moment and saying like, well, this is pretty cool. I'm pretty grateful that I get to do this.

Why me? I love that. What is a typical, when you're on the road, what does a typical post game look like for you guys? Like what's the. Post games. So say we're, you know, most of the time we fly, ride home after any game, you know, the only time we'll ever stay over the next day is if we're on a road trip. So if we, we play in New York on a Monday and we played Boston on Wednesday and we usually stay in New York and then fly the next day.

But if we're, if we finished Boston that Wednesday night, you know, we finished the game, everyone ice fast, you have your media, they have this, or with COVID you had to eat at the arena before you left to go to the plane. So everyone. And so usually you're leaving the arena around 1130. Um, you bus over to the airport.

Um, you check in if we're on a private side, so we don't have to go through security, which is great. You get on your plane. And most of the time, you know, on average, you're getting home, you're landing the plane at two 15. Um, I'm usually walking the Dorma house around two 30, sometimes on bad nights around three.

Um, I usually get home and I snack real quick before I go to bed and then go to bed and you wake up and go to practice the next day. So it's a lot of late nights, you know, in a lot of good ways though, you do get a lot of afternoon naps. If we're home, you always meet the morning we shoot around, you have practice and then your, your afternoons.

12 or one to four open. So a lot of guys, I think every Sinclair in the league takes a nap in the afternoon. Um, but you're up every night. Usually I don't go to bed most nights before three during the season. Gosh, as someone who goes to bed now at like 10 o'clock, that life sounds miserable to me. I want one day to wake up in the morning and like, not feel tired, like, and there's so, and I know that it's like every job in the country, but yeah.

I would love to just go to bed at 10 and wake up at nine or eight or whatever, and like, not feel just so tired. Are you a coffee drinker or anything like that? I'm not, I like refused to be a coffee drinker for the sole reason of refusing to be a coffee drinker. Cause everyone, every single person in our line of work drinks, coffee, like some people coaches are drinking like four or five a morning cups and I solely don't drink coffee just so I can say, I know.

Wow. You know what? I respect it. I used to have that belief and then I had coffee and now I absolutely love it. It's like my favorite thing in the world. Although it does stain your teeth pretty badly. So maybe it's worth better than that. You don't do it. Uh, I want to ask you one more question on the basketball stuff before we move on to some, some fan questions and some business.

Behind you for the people who are listening to this behind you are three frame jerseys, Vince Carter, Dwayne Wade, and Kobe Bryant. Um, obviously three legends of the sport you actually played with. One of them. Vince Carter was on your team for a couple of years. I want to ask you what was it like? Because this is such a weird workplace dynamic.

Cause I mean, if you just think about it, Hey, you're an NBA player in the workplace. You get to the Hawks at age 20. 1920 at age 19. And you're playing with Vince Carter, someone that you grew up watching, like you are baby Kevin on the Sienna sidelines, watching Benz Carter, be a star, doing the dunk contest and whatnot.

And then he's your teammate and he's twice your age. What is that like? It was weird. I remember I was in a practice facility and I was like at my locker changing and. All of a sudden, like Vince walks in, it's like, Hey, what's up I'm fence. And it was kind of like a, her and I was like, you're Vince Carter.

Like, you're not Vince, like you're Vince Carter. And I remember I walked in, it was like the most like casual meet and greet around this, like was so ready to meet. I don't know when he was going to be in a facility, but I remember it was kind of like, you know, maybe like today's a day I get to beat this guy.

And I was like, Hey, what's up? I was like, Kevin, what's up. Um, so he was like, he was so casual about it and, and really was just kind of like the dad of our team. There's such an age gap between him and everyone else. Um, but he was such a nice guy. He's a big golfer for people don't know he was bringing his clubs on the road and it conveys more they're golfing, you know, mid-afternoon um, a lot of times on off days, he was in the film room.

He was great. You know, he had stories obviously, as you can imagine about everything and anything about life, Um, Greg got to have around a great guy to know as soon as they will catch him on golf sometimes. But, um, I just always remember that that first initial meeting was just like your Ben's cardiac events.

Like what? I absolutely love that. Uh, so good for you. So pumped about everything that you're doing. It's so cool hearing. Bill Simmons. Talk about you on his podcast, watching your name come out of Charles Barkley's mouth on halftime shows that some that like in my wildest dreams, I never would have imagined so super proud of you and also super proud of these business ventures that you've got going on now.

So yeah. Uh, your family and a couple other families in the capital region where we're from are starting up impact athletic center. I believe it's set to open later this year. Uh, basically what it is for those of you who don't know it's going to be this huge indoor sports facility. There's going to be volleyball courts.

There's going to be. And NBA size basketball courts. There's going to be a state-of-the-art fitness center. There's going to be a cryotherapy place, which is like using ice to make your body feel better, essentially, a whole bunch of really cool things that are happening. Super pumped that you are doing this.

When did this idea first come to fruition? And how did you know that you want to be a part of it? Yeah, I think this was something that we talked about for a couple of years and someday of wanting to do. Um, one of our partners in it with the Litchfield family, they had a similar type of idea and wanting to do it on the volleyball side.

And obviously in my family, on the basketball side with our connections, we felt it was a great matchup, great parent. Um, we found great plot of land that we could do it in Clifton park. I think that was something that was also really important. All the parties involved with finding a way to do it in our own town and just something we felt like the area needed.

Um, I mean, there was a lot of times growing up or we're trying to sneak into jams and, and I feel like high schools and elementary schools, there's so many rules and so many protocols that go on to try and get to get a good gym. Everyone's always fighting for gym. Yeah. We were always traveling out of the area to go to facilities like this.

And it was like, why can't we have a facility like this in our area? And it was something that I feel like we don't have, especially in the basketball side, on the Bible side, there's, there's a couple of days fall things that, uh, in our area that had, you know, haters being one right in our backyard. And, uh, just really excited by it, you know, going to offer a lot of different things, trying to be available to the elite athlete, trying to be available to the athlete.

That's. Um, just kind of, for everybody, a way to give, give back, obviously another way to give back to the community. Um, something that we want to be part of for a long time. And we're really excited to bring it to the area you're saying shat UCON elementary school. Doesn't cut it for basketball practice.

What is, Hey, playing all of these forms and everything to get in there, you got to the principal SLK and whatever it was. Like everything. It's like, we're trying to sneak in. We're going to coach these after school. And he had to saga was sectioned off, but at daycare went 20 minutes late. We tried to walk over and go to scan out.

Two minutes later, the principal or whatever of standalone lock. And it kicks out because we weren't, it's like we can, I feel like growing up, I always ran into that problem. And then just, I feel like people are always fighting over gym time. I'm trying to go to the YMCA, you know, keep that out and then you'll hopefully again, we could be, we can be a place for all levels of an athlete.

Yeah. Coach D was a, and is a teacher at, to saga elementary, which is in the Shen school district. And so to your point, I wouldn't be able to go to the gym after school. And he had this machine, which you use as well. The VertiMax, which you guys I believe took home for a while, which was great by the way, it's basically a platform and you, uh, strap all these resistance bands to you and you just kind of jump up and down in a ways you're down.

It's like works wonders for your vertical. And so I would walk to, to saga after school to use the Virta max to coach these classroom, I would set up the VertiMax in his classroom and jump up and down as students like little eight year olds are passing by me up. Don't mind me just jumping up and down in my teacher's classroom.

Uh, so I'm very glad. The five and eight is getting a spotlight. I feel like everyone's got a story like that. Hopefully those can go away and just come over. And in fact, we'll have a Vernon, max story was such a real nice, you know, whatever you want. So financially speaking, everyone forgets like you're so young.

I mean, you're still only 22 and you've been in the league for a couple of years at this point. And so being in college only getting two years of a college education, you kind of bypass a couple of years of education. So you're still super young. And you will now have to basically adult a lot. I talk a lot on this podcast about adulting.

You've kind of had to grow up before the vast majority of us do. So how do you make sure that you're making a sound financial decisions when you have a lot of money and can easily spend that on things that you don't need? You got a good team around you, you got people that aren't afraid to tell you, not to spend on certain things.

Um, are you talking about adults and you know, said, I get off the phone with my accountant and my financial guy. And I'm talking to you though for an hour. It's kind of like 23. I feel like there's not a lot of people that have to plan for the next year of taxes and then how that's going to impact their, um, things that we're spending money on.

Got a great team. Know, I feel like mindset wise. I, I try to look at my money is that money that needs to last me for the rest of my life. So hopefully I never have to work again, not something that can last me in the moment and I could have a few good weekends in Miami. So it's kind of my initial mindset trying to make this last, trying to set up for bigger and better things, trying to set up for ways to help pay for places like impact and different things like that.

So it's a lot of important stuff to spend money on. And, you know, obviously I got a lot of good people around me to help me. What's the last thing that you really wanted to buy, that the people around you wouldn't let you buy. I mean, I already have a car, so it's like, I'd love to get another one probably right now is not the best time to do that.

Um, No vacation spots. I'm someone. I, I want to see the world. I want wanna, I want someone, I want to travel a lot. I want to experience a lot of different things. You know, I don't want all my money to go on material objects. Um, so just trying to spend on experiences and trying to go on certain occasions, someone's like, yeah, I'll do that a couple of years to do that.

And, um, those, a couple of the few where's one place that you haven't been around the world that you really want to go. Thailand somewhere I want to get to, I mean, there's a million. We have, you know, Bowie or going on by Donna. She just came to us listed like 10 off the top. Instead of places in Europe, I need to get to Gallo.

Who's from Italy gave me eight places that I need to go to an Italy. I've I've flown through Europe, but I've never been to Europe. I've been to Italy. I've seen a great period. I pyramids I've flown through Germany. So I guess I've seen Germany from a window, but I've never truly been to you. So Barcelona, um, You know, obviously Paris.

I mean, there's this place on the coast and, uh, Thailand you'll run right now. The Olympics are in Japan. Like I'd love to be go to Japan. I want to go to Australia. I mean, there's, there's so many, there's a million different spots that I want to get to someday and it's going to take a long time to hit all of them, but you get to go to a bunch.

I absolutely love that. I love traveling. I, uh, we'll talk later more about it. There's so much, uh, so much good stuff there, but, uh, to wrap up here, I do have some fan questions. I, uh, have solicited a couple of questions from some fans. So, uh, these are kind of all over the place, but I want to want to run by you.

Uh, so I guess, and just kind of goes through the money thing. What was the first thing you bought when he signed with the heart? First thing I thought of was a house mom. So me earrings, I guess my, my first purchase was like for my apartment. Um, my first, I guess, monthly payment, a down payment for that. I waited a year, so I didn't get, I didn't get a car for a year.

So my first big purchase would have been a car. And then a year later, I guess I got my house. So those were the first two, but it took a little time to get there. What types of obstacles did you encounter growing up as. Oh, not many. I mean, other than the, the occasion of the occasional comment here and there.

Um, but usually not many. I feel like in a lot of ways it was kind of like, why is this ginger so good at basketball? Like who the hell is this guy? People didn't really make fun of you that much, because like you backed it up. You couldn't really make fun of Kevin. There was like, like I got lucky. I was like tall.

So in school though, you know, you don't want to get too much of it. Yeah. Yeah. That's good. What is the main thing you've learned from your high school? They would talk about just how to work hard. Um, there was no shortcuts to work in. That was pretty simple answer. Um, always had a, some gym for us to, to work out now for us, but gave you every available opportunity to work out and then probably told you about it.

If you didn't go to those opportunities. Yeah. Yeah. Open gym. It's your choice. Just don't show up on trial day. Uh how'd you meet your girlfriend. Met her at school. It was a, it's funny. I met her the first night ever. I was out of college. I met her and then we didn't really talk for about a year. And then like, we're kind of together for a little bit that summer, then Todd then broken up for about another year, then officially got together when I was leaving.

So. I met her the very first and then it was kind of like, you know, some time between when we went together. Love that. Good for you guys. You guys now have a house together in Atlanta, so super pumped for you guys there. Do you have any pets? We've got two dogs. So they're, they're also leaders. So it's Australian shepherds mixed with cavalier king Charles span.

So it's like a mini also Australia. Um, so it's Bentley who the biggest bar of Ireland is called Bentley's if you ever listed in Scotland. So his name's Bentley and then our youngest, we just got her. She's a girl, isn't it. Um, so I always tell people it's for the rapper, even though my girlfriend will kill me.

That's what I think. Love that. All right. So this is my last question for you. And this is personally my favorite question and it didn't come from me. I swear. Who is the best defender you ever faced? And why is it Troy park is Tony Fargus was never, no, like Troy farmers was always bleeding from somewhere.

He was never afraid to get hit. So it was like as an offender. Like, you're always super physical, obviously. You're, you know, for me to you're two years older, so you're always like trying to beat up on the young guys. Um, obviously you're a smart defender. You wanted the challenge. Like I remember going in the game.

Um, you know, you wanted always to guard the best player and it was kind of like you took offense to, if we weren't like, it was like boxing one choice guard and you're like, screw that, like, you know, I'm Darren Scott. Well, let's play, man. I hated playing zone. Like you knew your strength was defense. I, uh, I loved playing defense.

I'm the prototypical guy that you don't want to play against, but want on your team? I was annoying. I was super physical. And I remember you several times just I was getting overly physical with you and practice really for no reason, probably just to like rough you up or whatever, just cause I, I took fulfillment in that, but you would ask me like, Hey, can you, can you lighten up a little bit?

It's just. I would've asked you that.

I remember, I mean, we used to go at it, but I don't think I've ever told someone to let up. Yeah. Well, coach D and I'll leave you with this story. I'm not sure if I ever told you this, but, and this was before you like really blew up. So I graduated and then I just came back for open gym in the fall or something.

And the UAlbany coach was there watching you. And I think it was one of the first coaches that came to watch you play. And so I came back and I'm still in good shape. Like, I hadn't really lost anything. And I wanted to guard you. I wanted to guard you with this coach there. And coach D says, no, Troy, you cannot guard him while this scout is here.

And so I've taken great pride in that ever since, or you forget who would've gotten me that open gym, but appreciate that. Then you can see. Gotcha. Uh, Kevin, thank you so much for joining me again, super proud of you and everything that you're doing. Um, you're doing big things. On the court off the court.

Got a good dog house. Great team. Get a nice contract here. So super proud to call you a friend all these years and to be along for the ride. So I look forward to, to coming to Atlanta soon, catching the game and, uh, seeing you in person it's good to catch up. You too, man, this was a lot of fun. This is Kimberly, the guy you're on podcast.

Now, you know, you do a great job with it. Listen to a couple episodes, keep it going and hopefully a good to be back on soon.

Thanks again to Kevin for joining me. I so enjoyed that conversation. I was on cloud nine the whole time talking to him just because I could see how happy he was. I could see the smile. In his face, I could see in his eyes how happy he is to be doing what he loves in a town that he loves living with a girl.

He loves with dogs. He loves in a house. He loves playing for a team that he loves. He enjoys being as co around his coworkers, his teammates. And what else could you possibly want more out of life right. Than to be doing what you love? Where are you? And doing it surrounded by people that you love and that care about it went.

And of course, there, there are drawbacks too, uh, being a professional athlete and a lot of people are going to say, oh, wow, man, I feel so bad for you getting paid millions of dollars to, to work on a Friday and Saturday nights. And to have a lot of pressure on you. Like, we all wish we could have that.

Right. But I mean, honestly, like. Fame and fortune like Kevin is on the verge of acquiring here. I'm not sure if that's something that we should all really be desiring because there are situations where people don't leave you alone and people reach out to you for the wrong reasons. And you have to be mistrustful.

You have to be kind of walking on eggshells all the time. So, uh, I'm not sure if Kevin's life is a life that I would want to live, or if any of you, honestly, you say you want to live that way, but do you actually. You're never actually private and you never really know who the genuine people in your life are, who is there for the right reasons and who.

A little piece of you, whether it's a favor or money or something like that. So that's, that's kind of a, you know, a hard part of being a professional athlete, but Kevin seems to be navigating a well, has a good head on his shoulders. He's hungry. He wants that championship. He's not complacent. He's not cheating who he is.

That's I think that's the most important thing here is that despite all the success and adoration he's experiencing, he's not changing who he is. And I absolutely loved them so happy for Kevin, so proud of him. So. Proud to have played such a small part in his journey. And I can't wait to watch him for years to come in a Hawks uniform, make and bank, hopefully getting a title, made it to the Eastern conference finals next year.

Let's take it one step up. Kevin, let's get to the. NBA finals next year. I can't wait to, uh, to watch you do your thing. So hope you all enjoy that episode. It's what I've been looking forward to for a long time. If you enjoyed it, please do me a favor. Head on over to apple podcasts, search the Troy Farkas show.

Find it, rate it, leave a review, five stars. It'd be great. Leave some kind words that really helps the podcast. Do its thing in the charts. I've also got a blog post coming up tomorrow where I'll talk about some more takeaways. Um, from this episode, that's over on TheTroyFarkasshow.com. You can follow the show wherever you get your podcasts.

Subscribe to the YouTube channel. Find me on Instagram. I'll put that info in the show notes. Go give Kevin some love. Give him a follow on IgE. All that good stuff as always having a great weekends guys and girls like do something you up, get outside, be with people that you care about, send someone a message that you haven't talked to in a while, do something that you love, whatever it is that makes you happy, like going to a coffee shop.

It makes me happy. Like playing basketball. It makes Kevin happy, whatever your version of that is, go do it. And I can't wait to talk to you next week until then after a weekend, y'all.

peace and love.

Transcript

Good morning, everyone. Welcome into another episode of TheTroy Farkas Show a podcast is not about me. It's about all of us. Twenties are a crucial time in our lives. And on this show, we navigate the highs and lows of early adulthood together. Thank you for joining me if this is your first time joining me, like I imagine it might be for a lot of the listeners of today's show.

This is a podcast. I talked to other people in their twenties, primarily. Yeah. In their twenties. We actually had our first guest that's in their thirties on last week. But we talk about people who are going through the grind. And oftentimes it's just everyday people. It's my friends, there's people I've met or people that I know, friend of a friend or it's people that I've just reached out to on my own, whether that's business owners, we've had people who appeared on TV.

We've had professional athletes, Lyle Thompson. Best lacrosse players in the world. And today we're having on Kevin Huerter, who, who is a guard for the Atlanta Hawks. He is just a few weeks removed from finishing up an incredible post-season run with the Hawks. The Hawks lost to the bucks and the Eastern conference finals.

Getting to a point in the playoffs where honestly, no one was choosing them to get to. At one point during the season, I'd asked Kevin if he wanted to come on the pike. And he'd said to wait until the end of the season, because he wanted to give me his full undivided attention. Obviously the season runs quite long.

Uh, but when he said that, I think it was just after the all-star break. So I said, all right, the Hawks will be. Out in, you know, there'll be out, they won't make the playoffs. So Kevin and I will get to talk just after the season wraps, well unluckily for the show, but luckily for Kevin and the Hawks, um, they went super far into the postseason and Kevin assured me that he would come on after the season.

So we have reached that point, super excited for you all to hear my talk with Kevin Huerter, who is a kid that I've known for forever. I first met Kevin when I was in third grade. Rec basketball. I'm on the orange team and Kevin and Tom and Tom's dad are all a part of the purple team. The orange team played the purple team in the championship, and I never heard of the Huerters before Tom was really good.

He was in second grade and Kevin was in first grade and these guys were just running it for the purple team. I think Kevin was on this team. I'm pretty sure I'm remembering this correctly, but Tom was definitely on the team, but that was the first time that the Huerters became a thing in my life. And they stayed there.

For whatever replayed AAU together. Um, they were on the team below me, but so I always got to see them play. Cause my team was playing after theirs, whether it was an AAU or the Clifton park travel circuit and yeah. I watched Kevin for the years, played with them every now and then in fall ball at basketball camps.

And then, uh, starting in when Kevin was in, uh, eighth grade was the first time that I played with him in high school. When I was on JV as a sophomore, I played JV again as a sophomore, he was there as an eighth grader, and then I went to varsity for the next two years and he followed me there and Kevin was always so good.

He was, he always had such a good shot, high IQ. Was the smartest player on the floor. Wasn't always the most athletic, uh, or anything like that. But the kid knew the game. He helped me out so much with understanding plays cause my basketball IQ was not very high. And so he was always huge in helping me become a better player.

I think I pushed him physically at that point too, to get better and to put up with, with defenders and people who are going to get super physical with them. So, uh, so many good years, so many good car rides. Some were spent together in a grueling off-season program, whether that's in the mornings, the afternoons or the evenings, we went through the ringer together.

And you remember the grind that you go through with your high school teammates. It's kind of a bond that is forged forever. And you've heard me talk with Jay Kix several times on the show. He's a guy that will be a part of my life forever because of that grind. And I ran into Tommy Huerter a couple of weeks ago and we talked for awhile and, uh, I'm super excited to.

Talk with Kevin today. We're going to talk about a bunch of things. Of course, we're going to talk about his career and the MBA. Some of the things that he's working on in the off season, what it's like to have such a big contract and what might happen on the next contract that he's going to get here in the coming future.

And also. On this podcast, we talk a lot about self-improvement and self-development and getting better and determining what's important. We're going to talk about a lot of those things and, uh, I'm super excited for, for all of you to listen to it. Watch this conversation. Instead it is over on the street.

Troy Clark, his YouTube channel Troi, F a R K S go to YouTube, hit subscribe, hit that little bell, and you can see all of the full episodes and some highlights from the show. As well. So without further ado, here's my conversation with Kevin Huerter and guard for the Atlanta Hawks enjoy

it's about the end of July eight years ago today, I would have been driving around Clifton park on my way to like my third basketball practice of the day, because our summers were super intense and today's guest on the podcast would have been in my backseat. Probably making some inappropriate 15 year old jokes like you're known to do at that time.

And we were probably blaring Drake or whatever was hot at the time. And today's guest is Kevin Huerter. You all know him as the, uh, guard for the Atlanta Hawks who just are fresh off a deep Eastern conference. Finalist run Kevin, super pumped to talk to you today. Thanks for joining me. Taking time out of your busy schedule.

I want to reminisce, I want to talk about the MBA. I want to talk about your business endeavors. So many things I want to talk to you about. Thank you for joining me. Good to see you. Sure, my man, it's good to be on. Thank you for it. That was an interesting intro. I've got it. I always drove over, so I always change it up.

My goal today is to ask you questions that you haven't really been asked about before. I'm not going to ask you about your welcome to the MBA moment, which was Kevin Duran swishing, a three in your face or about, you know, what was it like the first time you played LeBron? No, we're going to talk about the nitty gritty stuff that the hardcores know about.

So I want to first talk to you today about when. Let's go back to 2013. That was our last full summer playing together. Now me and you, and we're on the same team three years in a row, we grew up playing together, you know, grew up down the street from one another. So we were always kind of around each other for a number of years.

And it's so cool seeing where you are now, knowing that we have that history, but eight years ago, if I would have told you at lunch break of Kubek camp that we were probably working at, if I would have told you that, Hey. You're going to go D one, you're going to go to Maryland and you're going to be there for only two years.

You're going to go to the NBA, be drafted in the first round by the Atlanta Hawks and in one of your first, oh, by the way, you're going to make a couple million dollars in the process and you're going to go deep into the Eastern conference finals, lose against the team. That's gonna win the finals and you're going to play against one of the best players, if not the best player in the league.

If I told all of that to you eight years ago, what would you do? I mean, I would have signed up for that ride, I mean, on the spot. But I know, I feel like in a lot of ways I want to doubted you, um, you know, but that's kinda just your, my whole life. I've always tried to stay in the moment. So I feel getting ahead of myself and thinking that far into the future.

That's not really kind of how I live my life. And so at the time when it was, I loved basketball, um, I was loving so far where I had taken me all the friends that I've made up to that point and Clifton park playing for travel teams. You know, I used to grow up and think the coolest thing was, was traveling to Massachusetts and getting to stay in a hotel and big dumb bitches and just all the things the game had already given me.

Um, Has been unbelievable so far. So I probably would have believed you at the time I would have signed up for it. Just kind of went along for the ride and just again, seeing her in my life take. So had you ever considered at that point, what you thought your basketball future might've been, whether it was the MBA, whether it was maybe just coaching or playing overseas or anything like that?

It was one of those things. Even now, I guess in this point in my life, I couldn't ever see myself outside of basketball. And so I knew I loved the game. Um, growing up, I guess in my own age level, I was always one of the better players in our town. And then as I grew up kind of wearing one of the better players in the area, but it wasn't something I was thinking about your, I want to go to the NBA.

It was when I was growing up, it was, I love seeing a basketball at San Jose. All those guys were like my idols and growing up around the game and being a ball kid, there was like, I want to go play at Sienna. Then as you get older, things kind of changed, but it wasn't something that I started thinking about the MBA.

I started thinking about trying to go to college, um, in high school, trying to play for USA basketball team. It was everything just kind of came along slowly. And I only looked at whatever was directly right in front of me of trying to achieve it. And, um, It's been a great run, obviously, ever since now, a lot of, of us on the same team Hicks, OB Hardy, all of us, we would kind of like talk behind your back in a way round you and Tom's back and say like, how are they so good?

Because the way that you got good, when we were growing up was you gotta be at the Y getting up a thousand times. Every day in the summer, you've got to be playing over at the commons, doing all your fancy dribbling drills. That was what we did to get good. And you and Tom were never there. And we were just like, how do these guys so good?

Are they just that naturally gifted that they don't need to practice whatsoever? Cause that was my impression of you guys. But then I come to find out via back channels that you and Tom were kind of like practicing in this secret jam or something that was somehow attached to your dad's business or something like that.

Like how did you guys get so good? Yeah. I mean, it was there, isn't a, there isn't a simple answer to that. Um, and we went on, I mean, we went through the pickup, the fall league stuff, you know, we were at that type of thing. I don't think we were as much we to go to the YMC as much. Yeah. When we were growing up, there was this place we call the info label.

It's off exit nine it's. Uh, so you guys know Mr. Du for he is a warehouse and my dad used to rent out space in his warehouse and together they built like a half basketball court in the back corner of it trying to be like, kind of hidden secluded. It was, again, it was meant to be a warehouse for a business, not executive sports facilities, so they weren't allowed there legally weren't allowed to have it in there, but so they put, uh, they put a half basketball court.

And that was kind of just where we went and we would go there late at night. It was, it was our gym. We had the keys to it. Um, as you got older, we grew out of it again, it was only really a half court. Um, so it was great when we were kids. And, you know, if we had a travel game on the weekends, I remember we'd go show up there at 9:00 AM, get a hundred shots up and go over to the gym and play a game at 11, whatever it was that was kind of our spot.

Um, we use CNN a lot. Obviously we would go down there. Uh, we use our driveway a lot. You know, we were, I remember in middle school, my brother and I in the winter. You're good enough. Before the bus came, we're doing workouts and our garage and Thomas had these, these platforms, strengths, shoes that he hated and I hated doing pull-ups and it was just kind of this whole workout.

Our dad used to make us do and then go shower quick and make the bus. So, um, there's a lot of time spent behind closed doors. I feel like everyone, to an extent has one of those stories about, you know, how they, what they used to do in their growing up and things to get better. But it's a combination of a lot of different things that, um, obviously a lot of people don't know.

Interesting. Okay. I never knew that. What was it like playing for your dad? Your dad was your coach primarily growing up, um, for your travel teams and AAU teams. What was it like playing for your dad and then going home to dad and I was on some of those car rides. It wasn't always brilliant. It was tough.

I mean, he's still my coach with his dad or he's still texting. You know, before Gabe was trying to get me a scatter report on the guy who thinks they're gonna be guarded. And he's like, Hey, this guy wants to pump that up because God is going to try and draw files. And he's, he's still got his coach in him.

So, um, he's, he's trying to fix my shot every, all the above. But back in the day, if you guys, if anybody puts a park in the capital district, you know, my dad, you know, he's a tense and you know, he's someone that he isn't afraid to yell. He, isn't afraid to tell you how he feels. He isn't afraid to be hard on you.

Get on you, whether he's your kid or not. I guess growing up, playing for him, um, being a son, being on the team, she tried to treat us, I guess, like everybody else, you know, expected the same out of LC with somebody else. And, um, then we got to hear the private conversations in the car on the way home where really let us here.

He always did a great job growing up. He was able to always flip the switch and it felt like, you know, keep coached when he was at the games, he coached to some extent, and we were in the car on the way back to kind of how we felt. And then we'd walk in the dorm and mom would have dinner ready, and we'd all sit down at the table.

He became our dad. So it was, he always did a great job of flipping the switch, but it doesn't mean that he wasn't really intense. He still intends to stay. I don't know if you want to go sit in a playoff game with them, but, um, someone that, um, Yeah, I'll never take for granted ever see everything he's done so far now.

So we played Shen basketball together, which I don't know if you've obviously spoken to a lot more to kids on the AAU circuit, the travel circuit in college about what their high school experience was like. So, you know, better than I, but I would guess that there's not many high school basketball programs like ours.

The off season was harder and more intense than the actual season does Springs. The summers before school lifts, afterschool lifts, training sessions with personal fitness trainers and with basketball trainers and shooting machines sessions, which we went to a lot of, it was really intense and it was a lot and the coaches were really hard on us.

When you look back on that time, playing Shen basketball, what were some of the things that you took away from that, that have set you up to where you are? I just say, you know, I was, I feel like I was taught to work at a young age and that both came from my father, but that also came from, you know, shank coach D and everything that the program brought.

I mean, they really, they taught you how to work. They showed you what work hard can look like. Even though sometimes it might've been a little too much. Um, as a lot of players like look back and you compare it to other. Players' experiences. And at this level, other peoples, their high school experience might not be the same, but it's all you got to work hard.

And that was something that you can never say is that we weren't in the gym and we weren't always prepared. Um, you know, we didn't do our homework. It was one of those things that coach the account, always a lot of ways, they forced you to do mostly work hard. It forced me to be in the gym. So I think that's the biggest takeaway I take from it.

Um, I always remember a conversation coach that you had with me my ninth grade year. Well, he told me he was going to be hard on me, the rest of my career. And that if he wasn't someone that I didn't hate half the time when he wasn't doing his job correctly, trying to make you better, that's kind of been kind of in his Mo know, we have a great relationship to this day, but, you know, shut basketball was, it was a lot of fun, but whatever the saying is on the back of the shirt, not working hard is that acceptable?

I feel like every day was a impediment. Amen. One of my favorite things about you is your competitiveness. You, you hate to lose. And, um, the people who really make it are the ones that have that work ethic, like we were developing and the ones who are super competitive and want to outwork you and outscore you and all of these things.

So I remember so many nights, Kevin, when we're at open gym that begins at seven o'clock, we do our workouts and then we scrimmage we're supposed to be out of there by like nine. But if you're on Kevin's team and Kevin loses Kevin, doesn't like to end on a loss. So Kevin's like, Nope, we're running it back.

We're playing the 21 again, we're staying until 10 o'clock until I win. So that competitiveness has always been there and I love watching it play out on the court. Yeah, I remember. I mean, I definitely remember that. I, Hey, you can't walk into the gym and Ms. Shidah came walk out of the gym on a loss. And I remember it comes on, I was getting into fights with people about how they're talking about they got to go home and do homework.

And, um, I guess the time wasn't acceptable, excuse me. You gotta hit to lose. You gotta hit to lose more than we love to win. Um, I think everyone that Jim was kind of like that, you know, I wasn't the only one, I think, you know, everyone, the gym there, there was really heated games or competitive. And, um, some that I haven't forgotten at this point, I'm sure you haven't forgotten everyone was there, but those open gyms, those were, those were masters.

Yeah. So a lot of people, when they, you know, get to be of your stature where people know them or tweeting about them, talking about them household. Um, a lot of them tend to let that all get to their heads and they kind of lose their roots. They lose sense of where they came from, the people that got them there.

How do you try to make sure that you don't leave behind where you came from it and the people that helped you out? Yeah. You know, that, that happens a lot. Um, I think the easiest, I try to keep in touch with a lot of people back at home. You know, my high school friends are still people that I talk to daily and my family or people I talk to.

Um, all of the people that used to cover me in high school, all the channel 10, that the channel eight, all the, all those, the media people that, you know, and try to talk to him over the course of the year are treated the exact same. And, um, just try not to let them get too far out of my life and, you know, Clifton park it's, it's obviously, it's where I grew up.

I'll always have roots there always had love for there. You know, hopefully within the next couple of years, Know, bringing this athletic facility, trying to break camps to the area, um, continuing Cubex camps. And you know, there's a lot of different things of you. I hope to have my fingerprints still on the area and the 508.

And are they a big reasons that I was just not falling out of touch with people and ended up talking to people daily and some, I actively try to. On a similar note, when you have these things, people knowing you, you've obviously got some money in your back pocket now, and again, you are a, you know, a low key celebrity.

Now, a lot of people let that get to their heads because there's so many people telling them how great they are and people looking up to them. And so a lot of people kind of lose their way. I was talking about this on a podcast couple of weeks ago, where. For example, you know, a band comes out with a new song and it goes to the top of the charts and they're a one hit wonder cause they can't replicate it and they let all of that iteration and success get to their heads.

So how do you make sure that you don't let any of this outside shatter, uh, telling you how great you are and how great your game six was, whatever, and, uh, make sure that you stay true to who you are and being humble and all that. Yeah. I mean, it's, for me, nothing's changed, you know, every, every time I feel like I reach a goal of mine, did you set a new one?

And there's still so many personal goals for myself that I still want to achieve. And that's something that drives me every day. And. We make it to the Eastern conference finals this year, next year, they might have them, like, let's make the farmers next to a little bit swimming. Let's do the whole thing.

Um, for me, it's always as, as a professional player, as anyone who's working in the world, you have a contract, you gotta show up to work and that contract at some point runs out and it's, you know, how can you get the next contract? And for me, that next contract is coming up. And so that's something that's always on my mind.

Growing up when I was in high school, it was like I said, it's, you know, what's college. Let me work hard. Let me get to this. And you get to college. And for me, I want play in summer is how can I play on this basketball team? I played for USA team and then sophomore year it's, it's trying to win more in Maryland.

And then finally you get to a point where I was looking at the NBA and it's how do you, so everything is always a step. And I feel like that's how I've always tried to look at things are steps and not skipping steps. And at this point in my life, You know, obviously I think at some point in my career, I'll be able to look back and feel proud of everything that I accomplished, but I'm not at this point, I'm trying to look back at things I've done still a lot of things to look forward to still trying to achieve for you right now.

What, what do you see as the biggest holes in your game? The things that you need to work on to try to make sure that you can do everything in your power to, to get the team back to the finals next year. Yeah, continuing to try to be a complete player. Um, in a lot of ways, the playoffs were eyeopening for me, you know, being on the court, just the level of physicality, of the level of players in the playoffs, the benches shorten a lot.

So every team's best players are on the court for most of the games and just try and reach a new level, you know, just trying to overall just become a better player, a better defensive. So continue to work on my body. Um, some of the bigger wings I was guarding this year, it's biased Harris, the Ben Simmons, and being able to physically stay with those guys and offensively, um, probably become a little bit more consistent.

Obviously I had a couple of games where I look good, but then there are games where I feel like I played as well. So just overall improving consistency. So there's a lot of things are going to, it's not always a simple answer. I feel like it never really is may, but, um, overall game again, it's something I'm looking forward to continuing to work on it.

There's a lot of skills that you can see. You can see a person shooting ability, passing ability, but one thing that that's kind of hard to gauge is confidence. And you have always been a very confident player. I mean, any time that I have watched you play growing. You believe that you are the best player on the court, you might not actually be the best player on the court, but you always believe that you already won on your hands.

You want to take all the shots DMBA. Now obviously the level of competition is a much more increased now. So you might not be the best player on the court. So how do you make sure that you are staying confident and are still trying to have that same mindset that you always have? Yeah, I feel like that started young and I'm sure everyone has this.

Who's going to listen to this. I feel like there's, there's certain things that you hear. There's certain quotes kind of throughout your life that you never truly forget. And it's kind of just something for whatever reason. I'm not in certain moments. You always go back to at one time, this person said this to me.

And you think about it for some reason that can kind of carry with you for the rest of your lives. I remember it started my dad. I remember when I was younger. No, I think we went a game and I was nervous, or I was talking about how I was nervous or maybe after the game, I forget the, the situation, but he just told me like, confidence is all about preparation.

He's like, it's, if you're not confident in your preparation is if you didn't prepare for a game you to practice, of course, you're not going to go to a big counseling. So if you, if you did prepare through practice the day before or the night before you've been working towards this goal, whatever it is.

That you should have all the confidence in the world because you know, you're prepared for, what's kind of like a test and that's what he alluded to him. And then I fast forward a couple of years, I remember with coach Krista doula Shen baseball team, and this was a totally different sport, but it's kind of something that I think about now in the NBA is.

He told us we were getting ready for our, I think it was a sectional playoff gamers, you know, I might've been a junior or something. And he told her on the team that you can't be too excited the whole day. Like if you, if you're too excited that you're going to be worn out by the time it's game time. And so I feel like in some ways I always think about that of having this calmness of almost not allowing myself to get excited for a game until you arrive at the game until you're for me in my head, like allowed to be excited for it.

And. So if I know I'm going in everything, and if I'm knowing, going into such certain situations in a practice for it, I prepared for something I've worked towards. And then if I keep my excitement to a minimum until actual game time, then you'll mentally, I feel like I'm usually pretty good spot when that game is ready to start.

I want to ask you about something that I feel like not enough people talk about. People think that the life of a professional athlete is super good. People know you you've got money, you're going out on the town and people want to be around you, et cetera, et cetera. But like you're playing an 82 game season.

You are on the road all the time. You're playing on Friday and Saturday nights. Like say what you want about what you do for a living, but you know, that's valuable real estate as a young person. Like I think the life of an NBA player is quite hard. So the 82 game season, how however many months long, that is what is the grind physically and mentally of the season, like.

Yeah. And grind is grind is the only word to describe it. Um, especially it's it's it really is. It's a marathon. And the tough part about being an NBA player is that there's very little balance in your life. You know, you go to where for eight months out of the year, you're super serious to play in almost every other day.

Your diet super strips. You know, your social life is limited to usually one or two drinks, and then you're going to bed. If you're smart about it, um, And it's just, it's a long year. You look forward to the many breaks. You look forward to the all-star breaks. You look forward in some ways, when you're losing you look forward to the off season that there's just very little balanced.

And then all of a sudden you get to the off season five months. Summit, you don't have to work and you can pick your schedule and you can pick and choose when you want to be social. And for the most part, you can be social as much as you want to. And so it's really, it's a big, it's a big balancing act of how you got to look at it.

But I mean, during the course of the year, it was tough. I, you know, my, my first year in the NBA was for my own age group. All my friends were juniors and seniors in college. And so, like I said, I'm on, it's a Saturday night. I'm in Oklahoma city. Or I'm in Boston or whatever, and my snap stories or everyone out, everyone posts and everything, and it's all my buddies.

And so of course, I'm sitting in my hotel room, we got a game the next night I'm watching Netflix. And I was like, damn, like, I really want to be out right now. And, and then same thing happened the next year. And then all of a sudden you get to the summer. And again, there's, it's just a huge balancing act of, um, To the total extreme.

So, um, it'd be a player that you talked about the, the attention, and everyone's trying to look into that. I wished at some point there was an off switch where at some point you can get away from it all. And that's where it's truly, it's great to be in your own house, but, um, it's never something I want to give up again.

This is something you kind of dream for you, you get to this level and you take everything that comes with it. Obviously, sometimes it's turned off, but at the end of the day, There's a glamorous life. It's it's you love to do it. You know, you travel around the world, um, getting paid to play a game. So you got to keep that mindset, even though it gets to be a grind, just like anything else, it is a job.

And when you get to game 60 and you're on the road for your seventh day in a row, you're reminded that it is still a job. It's not always just a game. So, um, there's a good and bad. And there's probably a lot of people. This usually just happens with professional athletes or anyone who gets big in a quick amount of time.

A lot of people maybe from your past or who don't know you or from the new town that you're in, they just kind of like start trickling in and you're like, and they text you, they track your number down somehow. And you're like, I haven't spoken to you in 12 years. Like I helped you out with your homework once and now you want to come visit me or something like that.

Uh, w what is that like, trying to separate out who. Is actually important in your life and actually means something to you. And then just someone who just like, kind of wants a PCU. Yeah, that happens. Um, you're familiar. Uh, I try to be nice to everybody. If it's a text it's quick text back, you know, it might not be a full conversation just trying to hit them back.

Um, for me, a lot of that attention comes in the form of tickets still. I'm going to town, my family member, my friend that I haven't seen her, hasn't been to a game 10 years, wants to come to a game. All of a sudden, um, I love my parents handle most of that. You know, I kinda tell my dad, I'm like, Hey, if we're on the road in New York, I got eight tickets everyone's texting you on.

I'm not dealing with it. And anytime people come to Atlanta, you know, I can get it usually as many as they want, but they're, my family helps out a lot with that, um, with that kind of thing. But at the end of the day, it's still, people are just trying to be nice. You're trying to be in your life. They, they want a small piece of you.

They want a small piece of the ride and, um, just try to treat them with respect to them. At the end of the day, I won't see them. What was it like putting on a show at a sold out Madison square garden? Just a couple of weeks ago. Uh, that was, that was fun. MSG is everything they say about MSG. It's like the first number one to MSG is the Mecca of basketball.

And I think every player who's ever played. MSG has said at some point it's the Mecca of basketball. It's the greatest stadium in the country. And that's like, what you're supposed to say. I feel like once we got in the playoffs, because we played on the radio seasons for third year, once you're out of the playoffs, it was like, okay, this place is actually different.

Like this is unlike any other Rian I've ever played against and played a game against a crowd. But like, it was absolute mayhem. Like we were running on the court 20 minutes before the game in our own arena. Three days later, like it was half full with people. Check on it. We were walking into the game and it was like, it was, it was the fourth quarter with two minutes left.

It was, it was just chaotic. It was loud. We're getting booed as around the corner. And it's just like, I got chills running down my arm. Um, that was awesome. It's an atmosphere. It's not, it's a lot of fun to play. And even though it's not a lot of fun to play and I tell them my buddies. Now, if there's one thing you need to do in sports, you need to get to a playoff game and MSG.

It's the craziest atmosphere I've ever been at. And I don't know. I honestly don't know if it could be tough. I don't know. I feel like you might thrive in that environment. I feel like you could play up a villain role or play it. Like you get better. If people are booing, if you hit a three, you might just be like, come on louder.

Let me hear it. Let's go. I feel like you would thrive in that. Well, it was more like my legs for that game. I had like the best legs of my life. I feel like I could have like kissed the rim with how high I felt like I was jumping just for all the adrenaline. It is, it's like the energy in the building, you feed off of it and you feed off of that hate in a lot of ways.

I'm sure that they set off in a different way, but yeah, we went into that building and you have 80,000 people. We're hoping you're loose and you get to be the guy that's, um, it is, it's fun being that villain. Um, you can't let it eat you alive. Obviously. There's there's people that let that happen, but I do flip the switch a little.

Um, it's tough. I mean, I, I'm going to just remember that feeling. We were running the court getting booed by 18,000, like 20 minutes on the shot clock for warmups. And I just got like the biggest goosebumps running down my leg and I was like, I'm ready to go. Like, it was chaos. Oh, I remember those days of being in the Shen gym and just being so high that I feel like I can dunk, even though I can't dance.

So obviously Atlanta is your favorite place to play, but what is your other favorite place to play? Like when you're on the road? Where do you just absolutely love going city or arena wise? Yeah, I think that's some I try to do as a, as a rookie, I try to appreciate arenas. I try to go into different arenas and in some ways, see how like the character and the, the era of the arena takes form of whatever city we're in or whatever team we were on.

And so a couple of like gold state doesn't play an Oracle anymore. Golden state Oracle arena felt like NSG, but on the west coast, like that was, it was a really cool arena that they don't plan anything. Um, I love going to Boston. Boston has a nice atmosphere, nice arena. There's certain ranges. Every NBA arena feels big.

Like the ceilings feel big, the baskets like that, the fans feel so far away behind the basket. It's kind of something we have to get used to. Um, even in college, the random, you know, adulty games that you've played in NBA arena, it's it is an adjustment, but there's some ranges that just feel more intimate.

They feel like, you know, fans are a little bit closer to the core. It feels louder and it doesn't feel as spread out and like the Pacers aren't one of those arenas, um, Celtics, Nick. That will Oracle arena was really cool in some ways, Miami trying to feel like that. Yeah. Um, so there's, so those are the ones I think I remember at the time I had just kind of like the crown atmosphere.

But, you know, in other one, I think Dallas, Dallas is one of those that feels huge. Like you walk into the room and you kind of look up and it's, it's just like massive. And, and they, I don't know what they sell it out, but it felt like we were playing there. They degrade atmosphere. So it's something I feel like I get out there usually early to court and I just kind of sit down and I kind of take it all in and look around, um, try to feel out the atmosphere.

Some ways to try to remind yourself you're in the NBA and you try to appreciate it for a second. I love that you always got to be in the present moment and just kind of taking a step back and moving herself from the moment and saying like, well, this is pretty cool. I'm pretty grateful that I get to do this.

Why me? I love that. What is a typical, when you're on the road, what does a typical post game look like for you guys? Like what's the. Post games. So say we're, you know, most of the time we fly, ride home after any game, you know, the only time we'll ever stay over the next day is if we're on a road trip. So if we, we play in New York on a Monday and we played Boston on Wednesday and we usually stay in New York and then fly the next day.

But if we're, if we finished Boston that Wednesday night, you know, we finished the game, everyone ice fast, you have your media, they have this, or with COVID you had to eat at the arena before you left to go to the plane. So everyone. And so usually you're leaving the arena around 1130. Um, you bus over to the airport.

Um, you check in if we're on a private side, so we don't have to go through security, which is great. You get on your plane. And most of the time, you know, on average, you're getting home, you're landing the plane at two 15. Um, I'm usually walking the Dorma house around two 30, sometimes on bad nights around three.

Um, I usually get home and I snack real quick before I go to bed and then go to bed and you wake up and go to practice the next day. So it's a lot of late nights, you know, in a lot of good ways though, you do get a lot of afternoon naps. If we're home, you always meet the morning we shoot around, you have practice and then your, your afternoons.

12 or one to four open. So a lot of guys, I think every Sinclair in the league takes a nap in the afternoon. Um, but you're up every night. Usually I don't go to bed most nights before three during the season. Gosh, as someone who goes to bed now at like 10 o'clock, that life sounds miserable to me. I want one day to wake up in the morning and like, not feel tired, like, and there's so, and I know that it's like every job in the country, but yeah.

I would love to just go to bed at 10 and wake up at nine or eight or whatever, and like, not feel just so tired. Are you a coffee drinker or anything like that? I'm not, I like refused to be a coffee drinker for the sole reason of refusing to be a coffee drinker. Cause everyone, every single person in our line of work drinks, coffee, like some people coaches are drinking like four or five a morning cups and I solely don't drink coffee just so I can say, I know.

Wow. You know what? I respect it. I used to have that belief and then I had coffee and now I absolutely love it. It's like my favorite thing in the world. Although it does stain your teeth pretty badly. So maybe it's worth better than that. You don't do it. Uh, I want to ask you one more question on the basketball stuff before we move on to some, some fan questions and some business.

Behind you for the people who are listening to this behind you are three frame jerseys, Vince Carter, Dwayne Wade, and Kobe Bryant. Um, obviously three legends of the sport you actually played with. One of them. Vince Carter was on your team for a couple of years. I want to ask you what was it like? Because this is such a weird workplace dynamic.

Cause I mean, if you just think about it, Hey, you're an NBA player in the workplace. You get to the Hawks at age 20. 1920 at age 19. And you're playing with Vince Carter, someone that you grew up watching, like you are baby Kevin on the Sienna sidelines, watching Benz Carter, be a star, doing the dunk contest and whatnot.

And then he's your teammate and he's twice your age. What is that like? It was weird. I remember I was in a practice facility and I was like at my locker changing and. All of a sudden, like Vince walks in, it's like, Hey, what's up I'm fence. And it was kind of like a, her and I was like, you're Vince Carter.

Like, you're not Vince, like you're Vince Carter. And I remember I walked in, it was like the most like casual meet and greet around this, like was so ready to meet. I don't know when he was going to be in a facility, but I remember it was kind of like, you know, maybe like today's a day I get to beat this guy.

And I was like, Hey, what's up? I was like, Kevin, what's up. Um, so he was like, he was so casual about it and, and really was just kind of like the dad of our team. There's such an age gap between him and everyone else. Um, but he was such a nice guy. He's a big golfer for people don't know he was bringing his clubs on the road and it conveys more they're golfing, you know, mid-afternoon um, a lot of times on off days, he was in the film room.

He was great. You know, he had stories obviously, as you can imagine about everything and anything about life, Um, Greg got to have around a great guy to know as soon as they will catch him on golf sometimes. But, um, I just always remember that that first initial meeting was just like your Ben's cardiac events.

Like what? I absolutely love that. Uh, so good for you. So pumped about everything that you're doing. It's so cool hearing. Bill Simmons. Talk about you on his podcast, watching your name come out of Charles Barkley's mouth on halftime shows that some that like in my wildest dreams, I never would have imagined so super proud of you and also super proud of these business ventures that you've got going on now.

So yeah. Uh, your family and a couple other families in the capital region where we're from are starting up impact athletic center. I believe it's set to open later this year. Uh, basically what it is for those of you who don't know it's going to be this huge indoor sports facility. There's going to be volleyball courts.

There's going to be. And NBA size basketball courts. There's going to be a state-of-the-art fitness center. There's going to be a cryotherapy place, which is like using ice to make your body feel better, essentially, a whole bunch of really cool things that are happening. Super pumped that you are doing this.

When did this idea first come to fruition? And how did you know that you want to be a part of it? Yeah, I think this was something that we talked about for a couple of years and someday of wanting to do. Um, one of our partners in it with the Litchfield family, they had a similar type of idea and wanting to do it on the volleyball side.

And obviously in my family, on the basketball side with our connections, we felt it was a great matchup, great parent. Um, we found great plot of land that we could do it in Clifton park. I think that was something that was also really important. All the parties involved with finding a way to do it in our own town and just something we felt like the area needed.

Um, I mean, there was a lot of times growing up or we're trying to sneak into jams and, and I feel like high schools and elementary schools, there's so many rules and so many protocols that go on to try and get to get a good gym. Everyone's always fighting for gym. Yeah. We were always traveling out of the area to go to facilities like this.

And it was like, why can't we have a facility like this in our area? And it was something that I feel like we don't have, especially in the basketball side, on the Bible side, there's, there's a couple of days fall things that, uh, in our area that had, you know, haters being one right in our backyard. And, uh, just really excited by it, you know, going to offer a lot of different things, trying to be available to the elite athlete, trying to be available to the athlete.

That's. Um, just kind of, for everybody, a way to give, give back, obviously another way to give back to the community. Um, something that we want to be part of for a long time. And we're really excited to bring it to the area you're saying shat UCON elementary school. Doesn't cut it for basketball practice.

What is, Hey, playing all of these forms and everything to get in there, you got to the principal SLK and whatever it was. Like everything. It's like, we're trying to sneak in. We're going to coach these after school. And he had to saga was sectioned off, but at daycare went 20 minutes late. We tried to walk over and go to scan out.

Two minutes later, the principal or whatever of standalone lock. And it kicks out because we weren't, it's like we can, I feel like growing up, I always ran into that problem. And then just, I feel like people are always fighting over gym time. I'm trying to go to the YMCA, you know, keep that out and then you'll hopefully again, we could be, we can be a place for all levels of an athlete.

Yeah. Coach D was a, and is a teacher at, to saga elementary, which is in the Shen school district. And so to your point, I wouldn't be able to go to the gym after school. And he had this machine, which you use as well. The VertiMax, which you guys I believe took home for a while, which was great by the way, it's basically a platform and you, uh, strap all these resistance bands to you and you just kind of jump up and down in a ways you're down.

It's like works wonders for your vertical. And so I would walk to, to saga after school to use the Virta max to coach these classroom, I would set up the VertiMax in his classroom and jump up and down as students like little eight year olds are passing by me up. Don't mind me just jumping up and down in my teacher's classroom.

Uh, so I'm very glad. The five and eight is getting a spotlight. I feel like everyone's got a story like that. Hopefully those can go away and just come over. And in fact, we'll have a Vernon, max story was such a real nice, you know, whatever you want. So financially speaking, everyone forgets like you're so young.

I mean, you're still only 22 and you've been in the league for a couple of years at this point. And so being in college only getting two years of a college education, you kind of bypass a couple of years of education. So you're still super young. And you will now have to basically adult a lot. I talk a lot on this podcast about adulting.

You've kind of had to grow up before the vast majority of us do. So how do you make sure that you're making a sound financial decisions when you have a lot of money and can easily spend that on things that you don't need? You got a good team around you, you got people that aren't afraid to tell you, not to spend on certain things.

Um, are you talking about adults and you know, said, I get off the phone with my accountant and my financial guy. And I'm talking to you though for an hour. It's kind of like 23. I feel like there's not a lot of people that have to plan for the next year of taxes and then how that's going to impact their, um, things that we're spending money on.

Got a great team. Know, I feel like mindset wise. I, I try to look at my money is that money that needs to last me for the rest of my life. So hopefully I never have to work again, not something that can last me in the moment and I could have a few good weekends in Miami. So it's kind of my initial mindset trying to make this last, trying to set up for bigger and better things, trying to set up for ways to help pay for places like impact and different things like that.

So it's a lot of important stuff to spend money on. And, you know, obviously I got a lot of good people around me to help me. What's the last thing that you really wanted to buy, that the people around you wouldn't let you buy. I mean, I already have a car, so it's like, I'd love to get another one probably right now is not the best time to do that.

Um, No vacation spots. I'm someone. I, I want to see the world. I want wanna, I want someone, I want to travel a lot. I want to experience a lot of different things. You know, I don't want all my money to go on material objects. Um, so just trying to spend on experiences and trying to go on certain occasions, someone's like, yeah, I'll do that a couple of years to do that.

And, um, those, a couple of the few where's one place that you haven't been around the world that you really want to go. Thailand somewhere I want to get to, I mean, there's a million. We have, you know, Bowie or going on by Donna. She just came to us listed like 10 off the top. Instead of places in Europe, I need to get to Gallo.

Who's from Italy gave me eight places that I need to go to an Italy. I've I've flown through Europe, but I've never been to Europe. I've been to Italy. I've seen a great period. I pyramids I've flown through Germany. So I guess I've seen Germany from a window, but I've never truly been to you. So Barcelona, um, You know, obviously Paris.

I mean, there's this place on the coast and, uh, Thailand you'll run right now. The Olympics are in Japan. Like I'd love to be go to Japan. I want to go to Australia. I mean, there's, there's so many, there's a million different spots that I want to get to someday and it's going to take a long time to hit all of them, but you get to go to a bunch.

I absolutely love that. I love traveling. I, uh, we'll talk later more about it. There's so much, uh, so much good stuff there, but, uh, to wrap up here, I do have some fan questions. I, uh, have solicited a couple of questions from some fans. So, uh, these are kind of all over the place, but I want to want to run by you.

Uh, so I guess, and just kind of goes through the money thing. What was the first thing you bought when he signed with the heart? First thing I thought of was a house mom. So me earrings, I guess my, my first purchase was like for my apartment. Um, my first, I guess, monthly payment, a down payment for that. I waited a year, so I didn't get, I didn't get a car for a year.

So my first big purchase would have been a car. And then a year later, I guess I got my house. So those were the first two, but it took a little time to get there. What types of obstacles did you encounter growing up as. Oh, not many. I mean, other than the, the occasion of the occasional comment here and there.

Um, but usually not many. I feel like in a lot of ways it was kind of like, why is this ginger so good at basketball? Like who the hell is this guy? People didn't really make fun of you that much, because like you backed it up. You couldn't really make fun of Kevin. There was like, like I got lucky. I was like tall.

So in school though, you know, you don't want to get too much of it. Yeah. Yeah. That's good. What is the main thing you've learned from your high school? They would talk about just how to work hard. Um, there was no shortcuts to work in. That was pretty simple answer. Um, always had a, some gym for us to, to work out now for us, but gave you every available opportunity to work out and then probably told you about it.

If you didn't go to those opportunities. Yeah. Yeah. Open gym. It's your choice. Just don't show up on trial day. Uh how'd you meet your girlfriend. Met her at school. It was a, it's funny. I met her the first night ever. I was out of college. I met her and then we didn't really talk for about a year. And then like, we're kind of together for a little bit that summer, then Todd then broken up for about another year, then officially got together when I was leaving.

So. I met her the very first and then it was kind of like, you know, some time between when we went together. Love that. Good for you guys. You guys now have a house together in Atlanta, so super pumped for you guys there. Do you have any pets? We've got two dogs. So they're, they're also leaders. So it's Australian shepherds mixed with cavalier king Charles span.

So it's like a mini also Australia. Um, so it's Bentley who the biggest bar of Ireland is called Bentley's if you ever listed in Scotland. So his name's Bentley and then our youngest, we just got her. She's a girl, isn't it. Um, so I always tell people it's for the rapper, even though my girlfriend will kill me.

That's what I think. Love that. All right. So this is my last question for you. And this is personally my favorite question and it didn't come from me. I swear. Who is the best defender you ever faced? And why is it Troy park is Tony Fargus was never, no, like Troy farmers was always bleeding from somewhere.

He was never afraid to get hit. So it was like as an offender. Like, you're always super physical, obviously. You're, you know, for me to you're two years older, so you're always like trying to beat up on the young guys. Um, obviously you're a smart defender. You wanted the challenge. Like I remember going in the game.

Um, you know, you wanted always to guard the best player and it was kind of like you took offense to, if we weren't like, it was like boxing one choice guard and you're like, screw that, like, you know, I'm Darren Scott. Well, let's play, man. I hated playing zone. Like you knew your strength was defense. I, uh, I loved playing defense.

I'm the prototypical guy that you don't want to play against, but want on your team? I was annoying. I was super physical. And I remember you several times just I was getting overly physical with you and practice really for no reason, probably just to like rough you up or whatever, just cause I, I took fulfillment in that, but you would ask me like, Hey, can you, can you lighten up a little bit?

It's just. I would've asked you that.

I remember, I mean, we used to go at it, but I don't think I've ever told someone to let up. Yeah. Well, coach D and I'll leave you with this story. I'm not sure if I ever told you this, but, and this was before you like really blew up. So I graduated and then I just came back for open gym in the fall or something.

And the UAlbany coach was there watching you. And I think it was one of the first coaches that came to watch you play. And so I came back and I'm still in good shape. Like, I hadn't really lost anything. And I wanted to guard you. I wanted to guard you with this coach there. And coach D says, no, Troy, you cannot guard him while this scout is here.

And so I've taken great pride in that ever since, or you forget who would've gotten me that open gym, but appreciate that. Then you can see. Gotcha. Uh, Kevin, thank you so much for joining me again, super proud of you and everything that you're doing. Um, you're doing big things. On the court off the court.

Got a good dog house. Great team. Get a nice contract here. So super proud to call you a friend all these years and to be along for the ride. So I look forward to, to coming to Atlanta soon, catching the game and, uh, seeing you in person it's good to catch up. You too, man, this was a lot of fun. This is Kimberly, the guy you're on podcast.

Now, you know, you do a great job with it. Listen to a couple episodes, keep it going and hopefully a good to be back on soon.

Thanks again to Kevin for joining me. I so enjoyed that conversation. I was on cloud nine the whole time talking to him just because I could see how happy he was. I could see the smile. In his face, I could see in his eyes how happy he is to be doing what he loves in a town that he loves living with a girl.

He loves with dogs. He loves in a house. He loves playing for a team that he loves. He enjoys being as co around his coworkers, his teammates. And what else could you possibly want more out of life right. Than to be doing what you love? Where are you? And doing it surrounded by people that you love and that care about it went.

And of course, there, there are drawbacks too, uh, being a professional athlete and a lot of people are going to say, oh, wow, man, I feel so bad for you getting paid millions of dollars to, to work on a Friday and Saturday nights. And to have a lot of pressure on you. Like, we all wish we could have that.

Right. But I mean, honestly, like. Fame and fortune like Kevin is on the verge of acquiring here. I'm not sure if that's something that we should all really be desiring because there are situations where people don't leave you alone and people reach out to you for the wrong reasons. And you have to be mistrustful.

You have to be kind of walking on eggshells all the time. So, uh, I'm not sure if Kevin's life is a life that I would want to live, or if any of you, honestly, you say you want to live that way, but do you actually. You're never actually private and you never really know who the genuine people in your life are, who is there for the right reasons and who.

A little piece of you, whether it's a favor or money or something like that. So that's, that's kind of a, you know, a hard part of being a professional athlete, but Kevin seems to be navigating a well, has a good head on his shoulders. He's hungry. He wants that championship. He's not complacent. He's not cheating who he is.

That's I think that's the most important thing here is that despite all the success and adoration he's experiencing, he's not changing who he is. And I absolutely loved them so happy for Kevin, so proud of him. So. Proud to have played such a small part in his journey. And I can't wait to watch him for years to come in a Hawks uniform, make and bank, hopefully getting a title, made it to the Eastern conference finals next year.

Let's take it one step up. Kevin, let's get to the. NBA finals next year. I can't wait to, uh, to watch you do your thing. So hope you all enjoy that episode. It's what I've been looking forward to for a long time. If you enjoyed it, please do me a favor. Head on over to apple podcasts, search the Troy Farkas show.

Find it, rate it, leave a review, five stars. It'd be great. Leave some kind words that really helps the podcast. Do its thing in the charts. I've also got a blog post coming up tomorrow where I'll talk about some more takeaways. Um, from this episode, that's over on the Troy Farkas show.com. You can follow the show wherever you get your podcasts.

Subscribe to the YouTube channel. Find me on Instagram. I'll put that info in the show notes. Go give Kevin some love. Give him a follow on IgE. All that good stuff as always having a great weekends guys and girls like do something you up, get outside, be with people that you care about, send someone a message that you haven't talked to in a while, do something that you love, whatever it is that makes you happy, like going to a coffee shop.

It makes me happy. Like playing basketball. It makes Kevin happy, whatever your version of that is, go do it. And I can't wait to talk to you next week until then after a weekend, y'all.