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Original Issue

Drew Gooden


On playing thepiano

I learned from myfather, Andrew. He was in this band called Diamond Cut, a jazz and R&Bgroup. I never got as good as him, but I made sure I was good enough to get thegirls. One of my favorite songs to play is On Bended Knee by Boyz II Men--man,the girls really like that. I'm trying to learn the electric guitar now, butit's tough.

On being one ofthe NBA's leading offensive rebounders

You have to wantthe ball. You have to have the passion to make that second effort. Someplayers, when a defender boxes them out, they just stick on a guy's back; a guylike me takes the contact, then fights it off to get to the ball. It's a matterof wanting it more than the other guy.

On Finnishsaunas

I'm half Finnish[his mother, Ulla, is from there], and the sauna originated in Finland. You hopin the sauna and you're in there naked, and they have these leaves tied to abranch, and you hit yourself with them to open up your pores. I know it soundsweird. You're supposed to stay in the sauna for [five] minutes, but I can onlystay there for 30 seconds before I have to get my ass out of there. It's toohot, I can't breathe! Then you hop into a lake, and the lake is freezing. Evenin the summer, it's like 60 degrees. Then you hop back in the sauna. [For mymom's sake] I have to say I like it, but maybe next time we go to Finland, Ican just stay on the dock and go fishing or something.

On having parentsfrom two different worlds

My mother is froma rural town, and they met when my dad was in Finland playing professionalbasketball. It was tough because my parents split when I was a kid. I grew upin the inner city [in Oakland and Richmond, Calif.] with my father, and becausemy mom was white my hair was different and my skin was lighter. Kids would geton me with the name-calling. But you deal with it; it got me in a lot of fightsdefending myself, but it made me a stronger person.

On the league'stoughest power forwards to guard

The first guywould be Kevin Garnett. You have to play both ends of the floor with him andmatch his intensity. Who else? Antoine Walker. You can't really tell this yearwith Miami, but when he was in Boston he was a guy who could push the ball upthe floor or pull up in transition for a three. Face-up, ball handling big menare so tough.

On the city ofCleveland

Last year I wasdown on the city. But it's my second year now, and I'm starting to like it,especially the restaurants. I'm single, so I don't have a wife to cook for me.I think I've been to every restaurant in this city. One thing I don't like isthe cold--I'm freezing my butt off out here!



Photograph by Michael J. LeBrecht II/1Deuce3 Photography