Wednesday, December 3, 2008

One-On-One With Martell Webster

Here's the transcript of a sit down I had with Martell Webster before the team left for the current Eastern Conference roadie. I was going to hold off posting it until Webster's return to the court, but that doesn't make a whole lot of sense now that I think about it. So here it is. Win one for the Webster!

It looks like you are close to getting back on the court. How has your rehab progressed?

Martell Webster: It’s going good. I get to do a little more every day today. Today I ran up and down with the team. I did just about everything that the rest of the team did. That felt great. I’ve got to go meet with the doctor again and see what he says. Hopefully he’ll clear me to start practicing, but I don’t want to rush it. If he says I need another week or so, then I’ll do whatever it takes. I just want to make sure when I come back that I don’t have to worry about possible risks or chance of having to go back in the boot. That’s the most important thing.

Do you feel anything in your foot now that you’re getting back on the court?

Martell Webster A little bit. It doesn’t hurt; it just feels weird. I’m trying to get my muscle memory back where it was. Being in a boot for four weeks then stepping out, things are a little wobbly and a little sensitive. I’m just trying to train my mind to know that my foot is OK.

This is the first significant injury you’ve had in your NBA career. Are you worried at all about coming back?

Martell Webster: No. It is what it is. These things happen everyday. Sometimes one of the most minor injuries you can get can do career-altering things.

I feel blessed to come as far as I have. Basketball doesn’t last forever. The stress fracture in my foot is just one of those things. Freak things happen. Right now I’m just doing everything I can to get back 100 percent. If this is my last day playing basketball, then I don’t regret anything. I had a great time. I’m just going to keep basically doing whatever I have to do to make it better. If things are great and I’m cleared to play, that’s a plus. If not, I’ve got to keep working until I’m able to get back out there on the court.

How do you keep yourself busy when the team is practicing or out on the road?

Martell Webster: There’s not much you can do to equal what you do on the court. You can do the pool. You can do the pool all you want, treadmill, bike, but endurance on the court is totally different from any other type of endurance. Coming back out here, going up and down a couple of times, I really felt it. I felt winded. Basically it’s about getting repetition, getting up here and doing some conditioning on the court is going to help me get back into game shape.

Before the injury, you came into training camp in the best shape of your life. Do you feel like you’re starting to get back into that kind of condition?

Martell Webster: Oh yeah. I feel great; my body feels great. It’s just that my wind is down a little bit, but it takes me no time to get that back up. That’s one of the perks of being young.

How do you see yourself fitting back into the lineup?

Martell Webster: The best way that fits! It’s not about starting. I can come off the bench, it doesn’t matter. Even if I don’t play for the first five games, that’s fine. I know that I’m going to work myself back into the rotation. I don’t know where, but I don’t mind coming off the bench or starting. It makes no difference to me. I just want to go out there. I’m eager to get back so I can contribute to the team.

What have you seen from the team while you’ve been out?

Martell Webster: The bench support is phenomenal. People have just accepted roles, which is the most important thing if you’re building a franchise that’s capable of winning a championship.

For instance, Joel just went back to coming off the bench against Sacramento and he had a phenomenal game. If you can have the mindset to know that you are on this team for a reason and that you can contribute in one way or another, then that’s biggest thing, especially if you’re trying to build a championship team. It’s a great feeling. That’s where I feel my place is so I’m willing to do whatever it takes to help this team win.

You seem convinced that this team has the potential to win a championship.

Martell Webster: Definitely we have that potential. We have the talent, not just in regards to the players, but also as a staff and an organization as a whole.

When some player get injured they withdrawal a bit from the team, but you’re on the bench for every home game and always at practice. Why?

Martell Webster: There’s no “I” in team. Just plain and simple. I know that’s just an old saying, but I always feel a part of this team. I love my teammates. The chemistry is incredible. We have a bond. Why would you want to be away from that? You want to be at ever game. Unfortunately I couldn’t go on the road trips because I was in the boot, but being here at home, sitting behind the bench at every game just makes me feel that much closer to getting back on the court. I love being there. It’s not a matter of needing to do it; I want to do it because I love being with this team.

Do you feel like you have a good balance right now between your personal and professional life?

Martell Webster: Yeah. When you think about it, kids commit more hours in school than we do to basketball all day. We come to practice for two hours and I get the rest of the day with my family. I feel blessed. We don’t deserve it, but I make sure that I play hard and I have no regrets. The most important thing is your family, but this is your job so you have to take care of this first. But two hours a day? Why would anyone complain about that?

A couple of weeks ago you were signed to contract extension. What does that say about the team’s commitment to you?

Martell Webster: It means that they want me here. They love what I’m doing here and I love what I’m doing here. I have a great time. I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else. I feel like this is the place for me. If I could retire here, that would be great. To know that they want me here for another four years is a blessing. I really appreciate Mr. Allen, Kevin Pritchard, the whole organization and this community for accepting me. I love every bit of it.

14 comments:

BlazerBlogger said...

After reading that I have more respect than ever for Martell, what a phenomenal attitude and picture of what a professional athlete should be. I hope like he does that he can finish his career right here in Portland and that he has many more years (and championships) with us.

brett said...

Even though he didn't go to college, Webster has always seemed to be one of the most thoughtful and well spoken Blazers. It's so refreshing to see a highly paid professional athlete who keeps everything in perspective and has maintained good values and priorities. It helps that he can sink the corner three, too, but this is the kind of interview that makes me as proud of my city's team as I am of its winning record this year.

With this team-first attitude, I don't foresee any problems working Martell back into the rotation. Given the Blazers' tough schedule, I'd rather see him and Travis and Rudy get 20 full speed, high quality minutes every night and win than have any of them be on the court longer and make the kind of mistakes that happen when you're winded. Our depth is one of our big weapons, and we'll get that much deeper when MW is back.

florida blazer fan said...

Martell is my favorite player on my favorite team in the NBA. Hisattitude is somthing athletes nowadays lack.Especially when he was coming on developing his drive and defense the shot...... not much else to do to it.haha.They should ease him back into the lineup but no doubt about it batumn isn't as good and after a few weeks he should be starting.. It sounds bias but I've watched the blazers as much as possible over here and its true.The 20 minutes a night is a great idea... If not its almost like punishing him for getting injured... Now Friday vs. the celtics... lets send a message to the league.

Leif said...

one of the things i love most about the blazers is their lack of ego.
this is a perfect example of what professional athletes should sound like in an interveiw, praise your teamates, be thankful of your luck, and want to do whatever you possibly can do to help your TEAM win. And the best thing is it's not just MW, we have a whole squad of guys who wanna do what it takes to whin together!!!

GO BLAZERS!!!!

SabonisFan3386 said...

I'll continue to wear my Martell jersey-shirt with pride.

Nice interview, Casey. Keep up the good work.

Bleah said...

It's players like Martell that make championships possible. His humility is just incredible. Man I hope this kid continues to get better and stays a Blazer for a long time, because we're gonna need him.

Lucas said...

" I can come off the bench, it doesn’t matter."
That is why i love this team and the players. Most players at his caliber would demand to start right away but great players i beleive are patient and do whats best for the team. At least players with a great mindset.
I cant wait to see him back though!

Darth_Siles said...

Hello Casey. Good interview here!

I have a little question, but i'm not really sure if you can answer it.

For us (Spanish Blazers Fans) it's really difficult to see (hear, know) anything about Blazers players but the thing we see in nba recap videos.
I suppose in the USA it's easy to see interviews or funny "inside the Blazers" or "Behind the scenes" moments. But for use, it's really difficult. I found a funny video of Joel speaking spanish with Rudy and Sergio (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USiYG8Yr4-Q - see 6:35 minute).

Is there any way you can show us this kind of stuff in the Blazers site?

Thanks and cheers from Spain!

timothy said...

We love you Martell!

Casey Holdahl said...

BlazerBlogger: Agreed. Thanks for the comment. And where is this Blazer blog that your handle implies you write?

brett: Martell has always been a good guy, but he has started to grow up over the last few years.

With the way this team is playing, it's going to be important to be careful inserting Webster back into the rotation.

fbf: Thanks for the comment. Enjoy Florida!

leif: I'm obviously a bit biased, but I don't think there's a team in the NBA with less ego. To a man, ever guy on this team is a regular dude who happens to be very good at playing basketball.

SabasFan: Wear it with pride. Sorry about the beatdown last Saturday.

Bleah: Agreed. I think the team locking him up for a few more years proves just home important they think he is to their championship chances.

Lucas: I think a lot of players would say they wouldn't mind coming off the bench, but in their heart of hearts, it probably bugs them. With Martell, i could really tell he meant it when he said he'd be happy doing anything to help the team win.

Darth_Stiles: We're always trying to find new ways to allow fans a window into the players lives. So if there's anything specific you would like to see, let me know and I'll try to make it happen.

Tom said...

Casey, you're the coolest. I think I need a Webster jersey now. He's the second coolest.

Zach and Yessidey said...

Good stuff Casey. I like the perspective you gave in your reply: "every guy on this team is a regular dude who happens to be very good at playing basketball."

That's such a good way of putting it. And I think that through your "one-on-one's" we get that view which we normally wouldn't get.

Keep it up ace.

Michael said...

Post I left on Bedge as well:

I thought the interview demonstrated a level of maturity that we have not seen in years past with Martel (for obvious reasons). I very much look forward to seeing how this very introspective young man translates that positive outlook in his own life onto the court.

Thanks for interview Casey. It’s such a pleasure to be a Blazer fan again. This is what Portland is about.

Scott said...

Happy Birthday Martell!