ON HIS NICKNAME, THE MATRIX During a preseason game [in 1999] I stole the ball, passed it, got it back and dunked it while getting fouled, all in one play. [TNT analyst] Kenny Smith saw it and started calling me the Matrix. It caught on. I do so many things so quickly that the name fits.
ON PLAYING FOR FOUR COACHES IN FIVE YEARS It's hard sometimes, but no matter who I'm playing for, I'm going to do what I have to do to help the team win. It doesn't matter if he's an offensive coach or a defensive coach, I'm a guy that gives the maximum effort on both ends.
ON FIXING TEAM USA BASKETBALL, FOR WHOM MARION PLAYED WHEN IT GOT A DISAPPOINTING BRONZE AT THE 2004 OLYMPICS You have to pick players who want to represent their country, not players who just want to represent themselves. The guys who play need to put their egos aside. It's about your country first. There's nothing bigger than that.
ON HIS UNORTHODOX QUICK-TRIGGER SHOOTING STYLE People [make an issue of] that, and I don't understand it. This [season] is the second time that I've made the All-Star team, so I must be doing something right. You won't find two players who shoot the same way. Nobody questions how Reggie Miller shoots, and he makes shots, doesn't he? The way I shoot is the way I've done it my whole life. I'm happy with it.
ON THE DECISION TO TRANSFER FROM VINCENNES J.C. IN INDIANA TO UNLV IN 1998 I hate the cold, I mean hate it. I wanted to go somewhere with nice weather. That, and the people at UNLV really made me feel at home.
ON PLAYING IN THE LEGENDARY SUMMER PICKUP GAMES IN CHICAGO It's extremely competitive. You've got these NBA players from Chicago coming to the gym: myself, Mike Finley, Antoine Walker, Juwan Howard. Add to that the college kids that come out and play and the [NBA] guys like Paul Pierce who come from other areas because they don't get the kind of run at home that they get here. These games are no joke. They're real physical.
ON HAVING PLAYED WITH THREE ALL-STAR POINT GUARDS: JASON KIDD, STEPHON MARBURY AND STEVE NASH Jason likes to throw the lob, and he's a great rebounder. Steph is a great scoring guard. Steve is a lot like J-Kidd, except for the rebounding and that J-Kidd can guard bigger guys. Steve's so small out there! But they're comparable players. The only adjustments I had to make came when I was playing with Steph. With him I had to create more shots on my own. With Steve and Jason, they create shots for you.
ON WHETHER A FAST-BREAK TEAM CAN WIN IT ALL Critics can say what they want about a team like ours winning the title, we're going to prove them wrong. The simple fact is that no one will be able to stop us from running. Running is an inevitable part of the game. It's just a matter of how fast you're going to run.
ON THE NBA AGE MINIMUM It shouldn't even be a discussion. How are you going to stop someone from making a living, especially when he's 18? If you can go fight in a war, you should be able to get this job. If you don't want a high school kid on your team, don't pick him. It's that easy.
ON BEING OVERSHADOWED BY HIGHER-PROFILE TEAMMATES It doesn't matter to me. People tell me this team wouldn't be where it is if it weren't for me. People who know basketball know what I do on the floor every night. I'm going to get rewarded one way or another.
--As told to Chris Mannix
THE 6'7", 228-POUND MARION, 27, AVERAGED 12.5 REBOUNDS AND 21.3 POINTS IN THE SUNS' FIRST-ROUND PLAYOFF SWEEP OF THE GRIZZLIES
"THE WAY I SHOOT IS THE WAY I'VE DONE IT MY WHOLE LIFE. I'M HAPPY WITH IT."
BARRY GOSSAGE/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (MARION)
AL TIELEMANS (PINIELLA)
"I always feel contrite after I get [ejected]. I feel like, Why did I do that?"--Lou Piniella, devil rays manager,Yer Outta Here, page 32