STACK: What athletes did you look up to when you were growing up?
Marion: I grew up in a north suburb of Chicago, so I looked up to Michael Jordan, of course, and the Bulls in general. I liked Scottie Pippen and all the other guys. I really respected what they did and how they played.
Marion：我在芝加哥的北部郊区长大，当然，我最喜欢的Michael Jordan，还有整个公牛队。我喜欢Scottie Pippen还有所有其他的人。我真的非常尊敬他们还有他们的比赛。
S: Did you try to model your game after any of those guys?
M: No, not at all. I’m my own person, man. The minute you try to do something like someone else, you’re not your own person anymore. It means you’re trying to be someone else.
S: Back when you had those basketball idols, did you picture yourself being an NBA star as well?
M: Not really. Anybody can imagine that, but it doesn’t become a reality until later in life—until high school or later. The odds might be even higher now, but when I was in school, they told us that 1 in 75,000 players makes it to the pros. It made me realize how hard it is to get to the NBA. At the same time, if your mind is set on something, and you’re willing to do what you need to do to accomplish that, you can do anything.
S: What kind of mental outlook helped you conquer the odds?
M: It was simple. I always tried to go out there and leave it all on the floor. I tried to make myself and my teammates better. It was all about me becoming the best player possible.
S: At what point did you realize you had what it takes to get to the next level?
M: I didn’t know it until my freshman year in college. I knew I was good in high school, but you don’t really know how good you are until you play against pros, overseas players and other Division-I guys. You don’t get to play against them until you are a little older, so you can’t really tell until then. I started taking it to them. So I thought, “if I can do it against guys at this level, then, damn, this is what I am supposed to be doing. So, I am going to make sure I am good at it, too.” That extra confidence and taste of success helps you when you’re going through tough workouts and games. It makes things easier on you.
S: Do you remember the first time you dunked?
M: Oh yeah. It was the summer after my freshman year. I was playing AAU, and man, I just went up and dunked with one hand in a scrimmage. Later on, I went up with two.
S: You’re known for your leaping ability. What’s your actual vert?
M: Some days it’s 40; some days it 37, 38. It depends on how good I’m feeling on that particular day. They say that as you get older it decreases a little bit, but mine is still up there.
S: Were you always a guy who could jump out of the gym?
M: Not necessarily. I’ve always been a good rebounder and always got a lot of blocks and steals. But sometimes older players—or even players my age—could jump a little higher than me. It was never a big deal to me ’cause I just went out and got those rebounds.
S: What’s your proudest or most memorable athletic moment?
M: My most memorable moment was being drafted, and getting up and walking across that stage in front of everyone. Being named an NBA All-Star was also a big honor. It was great to be recognized and rewarded for all the hard work I have put into my game and how hard I play for my teammates.
S: Do you feel like you are finally getting the respect you deserve as one of top players in the league?
M: I don’t know if that respect is going to come or not. Man, I just don’t know. I know one thing though: if you look at the numbers in the whole league, nobody’s even close to my numbers. That’s what it boils down to right there: Who’s doing what I’m doing? Nobody who’s my height and weight is doing the things I am doing.
S: Do you think you’re the most versatile player in the league?
M: Possibly—maybe even definitely. I’m probably the only one who can guard one through five.
S: Is NBA stardom what you expected it to be?
M: Definitely. Sometimes you get certain things you didn’t ask for, but that comes with the territory. The more money you get, the more problems come along with it. There are normal things everyone in the limelight goes through. Everybody has these same problems.
S: Talk about *** the adjustment to the NBA life.
M: I had just turned 21 when I got drafted, so I wasn’t too young. You do have to be mature to deal with all the pressure that is put on you. And the younger you are, the more pressure there is. I don’t think people realize that when someone goes from nothing to something—an instant millionaire—it’s not easy to adapt.
S: What are your thoughts about the NBA-imposed age limit?
M: It really doesn’t affect me, so I don’t have a strong opinion on it. At the same time, anyone straight out of high school is not ready to play in the NBA. There are things you have to think about when you make that decision. And if the NBA wants to set a limit on who can come out and who can’t, that’s on them. A lot of young guys come in and aren’t ready. They might get drafted in the second round and sign a two-year deal, but then they end up leaving, and you never hear from them again.
S: If it weren’t for hoops, where would you be?
M: Not really sure. I’m very interested in stocks and bonds, and also real estate. So maybe I would be doing something with that. I would definitely be doing something that would be *** me some money.
S: Got any stock tips?
S: Looking back at your career, is there anything you would have done differently?
M: I wish I had started doing some things earlier on, but I’m very content with where I am now. I have done pretty good for myself, and God has been good to me.