Darius Miles and Quentin Richardson talk about all things NBA, including what made Kobe Bryant so great: He’s a well-calculated psychopath on the hardwood.
It’s not just the great play on the hardwood that makes the NBA so captivating. A lot of the league’s popularity comes from the men playing in those basketball games, on and off the court.
FanSided‘s Mark Carman was lucky enough to speak with two former NBA players in Darius Miles and Quentin Richardson about their work with The Players’ Tribune and their love of all things NBA basketball. Miles and Richardson appeared on FanSided’s On the Mark with Mark Carman podcast on behalf of The Players’ Tribune’s Knuckleheads podcast, sponsored by Hennessy.
When asked about why the former teammates with the Los Angeles Clippers in the early 2000s got into podcasting, Richardson would offer the following.
“I really think we fell into it with the success both of us had and the big response from our individual Players’ Tribune stories and articles that we did,” said Richardson. “We were sitting around with a couple of the guys, trying to figure out what we could do next. We kind of stumbled onto this idea and gave it a shot. It’s turned out being something we couldn’t have even imagined.”
Miles would follow up his former teammate on if it’s still as uncomfortable to speak this honestly on a podcast after their revealing stories on The Players’ Tribune. “Yeah, it still is,” said Miles. “It’s uncomfortable to speak on the camera and on the microphone right now, but you gotta do stuff that makes you uncomfortable to achieve the multiple goals you’re trying to achieve.”
Whoever said getting out of your comfort zone was a bad thing anyway? Both of these former players got quite the reaction after publishing their posts. Miles felt it both overwhelming, yet humbling, just to know how many people have stuck with them through thick and then. Richardson looks at it as an eye-opening experience to get more involved with kids at schools.
“For me, it was something that made me realize that I should go out and speak more to kids at schools and colleges and things like that because of the reaction I got,” said Richardson. “You do realize that your story can reach and impact and help people in a good way.”
And both men come from humble beginnings. Richardson grew up in the inner city of Chicago, playing his high school ball at Whitney Young before starring in his hometown for the DePaul Blue Demons for two years before going pro. Miles grew up in East St. Louis, Illinois and went straight from high school to the pros as the Clippers’ No. 3 overall pick in 2000. Richardson went No. 18.
“For me to be an example like this for somebody to walk those same streets [in the inner city of Chicago], that makes me feel proud to know that what we started at Whitney Young is continuing and going on and on,” said Richardson. “We got a kid at Whitney Young who’s one of the top players in American and he’s going to Duke,” Richardson said of 2020 shooting guard D.J. Steward.
On one of their most recent episodes of Knuckleheads, Miles and Richardson had Los Angeles Lakers legendary shooting guard Kobe Bryant on the podcast. Both men had similar takeaways in that Bryant’s Mamba Mentality is a very real thing and the reason he was so successful for so long.
“He’s a psychopath when it comes to basketball,” said Miles. “He’s a serial killer. He’s like Dexter. He’s really calculated, you can understand him more than I did before I sat down with him.”
“Yeah, he’s probably one of the most calculated and intelligent hoopers,” said Richardson. “He’s on another level with his intellect and his smarts, being how calculated in how he sets everything up that he wants to get done.”
So it totally makes sense that these knuckleheads think that Kobe believes he’s the greatest player of all time, better than Carman’s favorite player ever: Michael Jordan.
“Absolutely,” said Richardson. “He would not be Kobe otherwise. And that’s what makes each of those guys who he is. If you sit with M.J., I think it’s no question, he’ll tell you he’s the best ever. I think Kobe, no doubt about it, believes the same thing. If he had his chance to play anybody one-on-one and settle those cases, I think he’d be game.”
“He’s a psychopath when it comes to basketball. He’s a serial killer. He’s like Dexter. He’s really calculated, you can understand him more than I did before I sat down with him.” – Darius Miles on Kobe Bryant.
As for if Jordan would feel slighted by Kobe believing he is better than his idol, both Miles and Richardson don’t think this line of thinking by the Black Mamba would throw His Airness for a loop.
“I don’t think he is because I think M.J. knows it, too,” said Richardson. “And I think M.J. feels the same way. I think that’s why they both are the way they are. I think if M.J. could play [Kobe] one-on-one in his prime, I think M.J. would want to get his shot at him, too.”
“I think M.J. admires what Kobe became and what he is,” said Miles. “So I think the respect factor is there. So I don’t think he’d be slighted from it.”
But how does LeBron James factor into the equation? Carman just had to throw that strick in the bicycle spoke, just to see what happened, now didn’t he? Here’s what Miles and Richardson had to say about King James in regards to Bryant and Jordan.
“To me, he’s just a different caliber of a player, off the court and on the court,” said Richardson. “I don’t think he’s the type of player of Kobe and Mike. He’s his own type of player, more all-around. Off the court, he’s more outspoken, more of this generation. He’s like the leader of the new school.”
“It’s a blessing for him to be mentioned with those type of guys,” said Miles. “You know, all of us want to be mentioned with the greats and for him to be mentioned with them, it’s bigger than life. I’ve seen him come in and to see him now, I love watching him.”
With James now entering his second season with the Lakers and his first with Anthony Davis and the Clippers bringing Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the fold, you’d be surprised with who Miles and Richardson believe is the best team in Los Angeles entering the 2019-20 NBA season.
“The Clippers,” said Miles firmly. “For me, of course, I’m biased. I’m definitely with the Clippers. I definitely respect LeBron and A.D. and what they bring to the table, but I’m just with the new energy of the Clippers organization as a whole.”
While Richardson wants the record to be shown that he is a Clipper through and through, he does give the slight edge to the big brother Lakers across the arena.
“I look at the Clippers as an already-made product,” said Richardson. “I look at them as being a better regular-season team. But I think once you get to the Finals, or get to the playoffs if you have an Anthony Davis and a LeBron James, I think the rest of the league is kind of in trouble when those two are clicking on all cylinders.” He likes them to win it all if they stay healthy.
“I look at the Clippers as an already-made product. I look at them as being a better regular-season team. But I think once you get to the Finals, or get to the playoffs if you have an Anthony Davis and a LeBron James, I think the rest of the league is kind of in trouble when those two are clicking on all cylinders.” – Quentin Richardson on who’s better in 2019-20: Clippers or Lakers?
No, it won’t just be the Clippers and the Lakers that feature a new superstar playing in a different market this year. Miles and Richardson believe that two former Oklahoma City Thunder teammates in James Harden and Russell Westbrook will make it work now that they’re reunited on the Houston Rockets.
“I think with James with the scoring and Russ with the all-around everything, I think it’s going to mesh well,” said Miles. “I think the way [Mike] D’Antoni is playing them, playing them together in the first and playing them together in the fourth, with them flip-flopping the rest of the game, I feel like it’s going to keep the energy up all game.”
“The guys want to play together,” said Richardson. “These guys already have a friendship and a relationship. So right there, that alone, that’s the biggest part. I don’t care what you think if they match up or go together, the fact that they want to play with each other and they already have a friendship, that kind of trumps everything. The same thing applies to K.D. and Kyrie.”
This would set up Carman nicely to ask what the guys’ opinion on Kevin Durant’s comments on the New York Knicks, a team many thought he’d end up playing for before opting to team up with Kyrie Irving on the city rival Brooklyn Nets.
“I don’t think it’s just like the Knicks like it’s just in general,” said Miles. “We’re 20 years removed from that era and these days, any slight thing people say will be taken out of proportion, but I don’t think he meant harm by it…Kids don’t remember a lot of those players [from the 1990s].”
“I think he was absolutely speaking the truth when he says this is a different generation,” said Richardson of Durant’s comments. “When we grew up, you saw teams like the Knicks have their core together for five to seven years…That’s not this generation. Look at just what happened this summer, guys went everywhere.”
And they sure did! Miles and Richardson would go on to say that rookie sensation Zion Williamson is in the perfect situation playing for Alvin Genty on the New Orleans Pelicans. Frankly, they were glad he didn’t go to the dysfunctional Knicks.
To wrap up the interview, Carman would ask Miles and Richardson the same question they ask on the Knuckleheads podcast: Who busted your ass for the first time in the NBA? Miles’ answer isn’t that much of a surprise, but Richardson’s will certainly throw you for a loop.
Miles remembers going against Sacramento Kings Chris Webber in his prime and had no answer for C-Webb’s offensive game. Richardson went with Voshon Lenard when he was on the Denver Nuggets. He did feel better about it by saying that Lenard did once give a great defensive player in his prime Ron Artest, known today as Metta World Peace a run for his money.
Overall, Carman, Miles and Richardson had a great conversation, touching on what made Kobe great, what makes LeBron great and all the greatness we’re going to see in the NBA this upcoming season, especially in Los Angeles. We can’t wait for the upcoming NBA season.
Darius Miles and Quentin Richardson spoke with FanSided on behalf of The Players’ Tribune’s Knuckleheads podcast, sponsored by Hennessy.