The NBA's 2006--07 Defensive Player of the Year leads the league in rebounding
On playing defense
• I put my hard hat on every night. When a player comes down the lane, I have to block his shot or get in a position to alter it. Defense is an instinct, but I watch film too. I want to see where guys like to go with the ball.
On the toughest guy to defend
• People say he's lost a step, but I still say Shaq. He's so powerful in the post, and he takes up so much space. I try to use my quickness to keep him from catching the ball.
On his signature backhanded high five
• It started in high school [Hartford Public] between me and my teammates. By now I have people coming up to me on the street raising the back of their hands to give me five.
On feeling the urgency to win, at 33
• It's there for me and [teammate] Allen Iverson. We've been to the Finals and didn't win. We have to do it with this team—we're over the cap. I don't think there's a better starting five in the league, but we have to win now.
On meeting Nelson Mandela
• It was two years ago when I was in South Africa with the NBA's Basketball Without Borders program. His house was guarded by the army, and we got patted down before going in. I shook his hand and took pictures with him. I keep one on my mantel. It was one of the most monumental moments of my life.
On his postbasketball aspirations
• To be an elementary school principal. I was an education major at UMass, and part of my curriculum was to substitute teach at schools. I'd be a hands-on, friendly principal interacting daily with the students. I can't see myself as a disciplinarian.
PHOTOGRAPH BY BRYCE BOYER