O.J. Mayo: so young, so young. Mayo claims that if Allen Iverson were to become a member of the Memphis Grizzlies, that AI would help him a lot in practice. Ha. ‘Practice? You talking about practice?’ That’s not Iverson’s thing, O.J. Either way, for a man people ridiculed as being selfish and maybe a little immature when he was drafted last year, Mayo has come a long way. It’s clear to everyone who watches the bottom-feeders from Tennessee that O.J. has the talent, but will the maturity come? He speaks like a man who has grown up a heck of a lot since that day he sported a standout suit last June. I’m sure another camp with USA Basketball last week forced him to realize that he belongs with the best, but the entire package of being a great player is still beyond his grasp. Mayo joined WHBQ in Memphis to discuss the Grizzlies’ offseason moves, his love for AI, what he learned off the court in year one, and his goals this summer.
How do you think the Grizzlies have done this offseason?
“Last year was my first time since I’ve been playing ball not making it to a postseason. It was really difficult to watch those playoff games, I know they were important to learn but it was really, really difficult. So, I was just happy to see the team take steps forward by bringing (Hasheem) Thabeet, Sam Young, DeMarre Carroll, and adding Zach Randolph, and hopefully we can bring Allen Iverson if everything happens the right way.”
What would Allen Iverson bring to the team?
“I think he can really help us in many different ways. First of all, I think a lot of people would be interested to come and watch Allen Iverson play here in Memphis and play with us. That would generate a lot of energy with our fans and our community… And then, just learn from him – he’s definitely one of the tougher guys in the league, and playing through the injuries, and playing through whenever things aren’t great… Me and Mike (Conley) are young, physically we’re there but mentally we’re still behind the players like the Kobes, the Brandon Roys, the Chauncey Billups – all the great one and two guards. So, to have a guy like Allen Iverson and going against him every day in practice would definitely make us better and help prepare us.”
How has your life changed after one year in the NBA?
“A lot, a lot of things off the court have changed. On the court is easy, a lot easier than people think, but off the court is where it gets different. It’s definitely a business that you need to understand and want to understand in order to be successful off the court.”
On his goals this offseason:
“I can improve all the way around to be more of a complete guard. I think some people get caught up in being a point guard or being a two-guard; being a complete guard is my objective this offseason and I just wanna look forward to being a complete guard.”