BEAR IN MIND
The 33-year-old forward, who helped the Grizzlies take a 3--0 playoff lead over the Trail Blazers at week's end, is renowned in Memphis for his ground-bound play and generous spirit.
DAN PATRICK:How would you describe your game?
ZACH RANDOLPH: I like to play hard, positional basketball. Kind of in the paint, kind of old school. That's what Shaq and Barkley said. Get it done. Hard-nosed basketball.
DP:You had less than 10 dunks this year. Why is everyone obsessed with dunking?
ZR: The game is entertainment. I understand that. The high flying? It looks good, but I just leave that for the young fellas.
DP:What is the feeling like when you're going against someone and they're just lighting you up and there's nothing you can do?
ZR: I think the last time that happened was with Klay Thompson and Golden State a couple of weeks back. It's just unbelievable. You can contest the shot, but sometimes the opponent's offense is just better than your defense.
DP:How many did Thompson have on you guys?
ZR: I think he had close to 40 in just the first half.
DP:Did he score on you?
ZR:[Laughs.] I might have gotten one or two threes on me.
DP:Can you be friends with your opponent?
ZR: Yeah, definitely. I'm not trying to be friends on the court, but, yeah, you can have relationships with players from other teams.
DP:Back in the 1970s and '80s players weren't friends.
ZR: Back in the '70s and '80s guys could fight and just get a fine.
DP:Last fight you got into?
ZR: It wasn't a fight. It was just a push, and they suspended me for Game 7 of last year's playoffs [against the Thunder]. It was that pushing thing with me and [center] Steve Adams.
DP:In the '70s and '80s they [the league] would laugh at that. They wouldn't even stop the game.
ZR: OMG. I mean, wow! That's what I said [when it happened]. Just wow!
DP:I love that you bought 500 playoff tickets for fans for Game 1 against Portland. How did that come about?
ZR: Just talking to our p.r. guy, and I said, 'Let's get the fans in.' A lot of them can't afford it. People walked in from neighborhoods near FedEx Forum. It was great, and they appreciated it.
DP:Any advice for the one-and-dones?
ZR: Just live your dream. I was a player who came out early [from Michigan State, in 2001], one and done. When I came out, there wasn't a lot of talk about me, so people were saying I should stay. But I believed. It's about putting in work and getting better. What you put into it is what you get out of it.
ESPN's Michael Wilbon said he doesn't like to declare anyone now to be the greatest, but he can't help himself with Stephen Curry. "It's possible he's the best shooter in the history of professional basketball," Wilbon said. "At 27 he's done that much already." ... Saints quarterback Drew Brees told me he still keeps in touch with former New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham, who was traded to the Seahawks in March. "We talk quite a bit," Brees said. "I still feel like he's a younger brother to me. I felt like we were going to have a long career together." ... NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah explained how he knows when the GMs he's talking to want a player: "You go, What's your take on Dante Fowler?, and they say they love him. But when you ask, What's your take on Danny Shelton?, they say, Gotta run."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK)
JOE MURPHY/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (RANDOLPH)
EVAN AGOSTINI/GETTY IMAGES (WILBON)
DARREN ABATE/AP FOR VISA (BREES)
JOHNNY VY/AP (JEREMIAH)