On his fashionsense
I'm a casual guy.Nice baggy jeans and a little button-up shirt. Now that I'm making a littlechange I can get clothes that fit me right. I have two closets, one for suitsand dress clothes and another for my Adidas sweat suits and that kind of gear.I got a couple different flavors.
On his nickname,Smooth
I was in fifthgrade on a neighborhood team [in Denver], and my coach, Bobby Wilkerson, gaveeveryone a nickname. For whatever reason mine stuck. In my neighborhood when Igo home, everyone still calls me Smooth. I got a lot of pride with thatname.
On how he makesthose clutch shots he's famous for
You don't think.You can't think. I take that shot with the same ease as a first-quarter shot. Ijust play and whatever happens, happens. I gravitate to those situations. Iconsider that the biggest challenge in any sport, having the outcome of thegame in your hands.
On being fifth inthe MVP voting
I was proud to seemy name there with all those great players. People are starting to recognize mytalent. It was kind of crazy that they said the biggest thing that hurt me wasthat I played with all these All-Stars. I don't see how that hurts. It didn'thurt Steve Nash when he played with Shawn Marion and Amaré Stoudemire lastyear. Why does it hurt me? (More on Detroit on page 42.)
On who his MVPvote would have gone to
If I couldn't votefor myself? Probably Kobe. With the team he had, no one expected them to makethe playoffs. He kind of willed his team there. He's great, probably the bestplayer in the league. A great defender, too.
On his cousin,former USC running back LenDale White, slipping so far in the NFL draft (No. 45to the Titans)
Nobody questionshis talent. It's mostly character issues. He's hearing people say he's troubleand not a good kid. None of that is true, but like I tell him, perception isdifferent from reality. If somebody meets you and you aren't all chipper andhappy, they think you're a bad guy because that's their perception of you. Toslip like he did is humbling, but sometimes you need a humbling experience.It's going to make him better.
On playing withBen Wallace
It's the greatestthing! When I funnel my guy down to the big men, it looks like I'm playing Dwhen the big men are doing the work. There are players out there who make guysbetter offensively, but Ben is the only one in the league who makes guys betterdefensively.
On his futureafter basketball
I don't want to gointo coaching. I admire and respect what [Pistons president of basketballoperations] Joe Dumars does, how he runs the team. I could be successful doingthat.
BILLUPS AVERAGED15 POINTS AND 7.3 ASSISTS IN DETROIT'S SERIES AGAINST CLEVELAND.
Photograph by Todd Rosenberg