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Top quotes from 2022 NBA All Star Media Day in Cleveland, Ohio on February 19th.

Giannis Antetokounmpo on if he ever thinks about his place among the all-time greats:

“That’s a great question. Man. Wow, man. Do I care? I think the correct answer here is no, I don’t care. You know? I’m trying to win games and stuff, but I view it this way, I view that at the end of the day you got to run your own race, and I got to be the best that I can be. Now where that’s going to take me, I don’t know, but I don’t look at Magic, Kevin Garnett, Scottie Pippen, K.D., LeBron, I don’t look at them and think, yeah, I want that. I’m always, how can I be the best that I can? How can I maximize my own potential? How can I at the end of the day when I finish my career, I look back and I gave everything? Wherever that takes me, which I hope I’m one of the best to ever play, but if I’m not, it doesn’t matter to me because I know that I gave everything. I’m literally obsessed with basketball. I dream basketball. Every single night. At first when I started playing basketball, I didn’t know that, but now, I’m obsessed. I study the game. I watch other players. I do whatever I can to be ready to play the game. I take care of my body. I’m satisfied with wherever that lands me.”

LaMelo Ball gets asked if the Hornets are missing something/need to fix anything:

“No, you know what, I feel like we’re doing good. I feel like at the end we were right there and we just need to close the game. That’s pretty much it. Hopefully when we get back we just start closing games.”

Trae Young still believes he should’ve been an All Star last season:

Obviously, I feel like it could possibly be my third year in the All Star Game, but just honored to be here, and just be around these great guys.”

Jarrett Allen calls Tony Parker his favorite player: 

“I’m from Texas, so I’ve always had a big liking for Tony Parker. I’m a big Spurs fan, so I’m going to have to choose Tony Parker.”

Jimmy Butler praises Heat teammate Kyle Lowry:

“I get the opportunity to be around greatness every single day, somebody that knows what it takes to win. But more than basketball, like he’s just a calm human being in all aspects of life outside of the court, and it’s like when everything is moving a million miles per hour, he’s just like, just relax, just calm down. It’s not that serious. I really do respect that about him because everybody else is doing all of this overthinking and then Kyle comes to the picture and it’s like, everything is going to be fine, calm down, let’s go have coffee, let’s go sit down and talk. That’s what you get when you get a really good basketball player but more importantly a really good person.”

Stephen Curry on the NBA’s current group of talent: 

“It’s probably at an all-time high in terms of some of the young guys who are stepping into All-Star-level basketball. You’ve got a lot of first-timers here who are so deserving of the honor. They’ve made huge leaps. But then you’ve also got like myself, Bron, CP, guys that have been around for a long time that are trying to still do it. Probably a couple other guys would be here if it weren’t for injury and stuff like that. It’s the guys trying to extend their prime as long as they can and trying to still play at that level. You’ve got the young crop of first-timers and just elite athletes and elite superstar talents that are coming into their own and everywhere in between. The competition is crazy across the board. I think that’s part of what makes this weekend special. You get everybody in the same room, you have fun, hype each other up but then know in like two months everybody is going to be butting heads trying to get to the top of the mountain. The league is in good hands right now.”

Devin Booker discusses being All Star teammates with Karl-Anthony Towns:

“We’re just having fun with it. Our lockers are right next to each other. I know when KD picked us both on the same team that the Kentucky memories started to flash back. It’s fun to be out here with him.”

Monty Williams on the experience of All Star Weekend: 

“I’m honored and grateful to be here, and at the same time you want to win. I talked to the guys about that in the locker room. I know they want to. I think the reason why we want to win is you’re competitive, but to be a part of this opportunity to partner with LeBron and raise money for the academy, the leadership platforms that he’s developed for generations, if you can be a part of something like that, it’s pretty cool.”

Darius Garland talks about Ricky Rubio going down and calls him a big brother: 

“It was hard for all of us. Ricky was like a big brother to all of us. We love Ricky. He meant a lot to this team, and that was a hard fall for us, but we got back up. He is happy for us. We’re happy for him. Just wish the best for him.”

DeMar DeRozan says he’s very proud to see former teammate Fred VanVleet make the All Star Game: 

“I feel like a proud father right now. I feel old. I remember the first day he came. I remember going to his G League games, D League games, whatever, every chance I got. I remember driving out there watching him play, and to see him sitting here with the All-Star jersey, being a father, it makes me feel old, but at the same time as a friend it’s something that I’m most proud of to be able to share relationships and be sitting here in this moment with him.”

Luka Doncic on Giannis Antetokounmpo: 

“You know what I’m going to say. He is an amazing player, but what most amazed me about Giannis, you know, his personality. Great guy just to talk to. Great guy. About basketball I think he is MVP twice. I think he is going to be maybe five times more, so he is a great, great player.”

Joel Embiid talks MVP race: 

“Well, I don’t really want to push for the whole thing, but the way I’ve been playing speaks for itself, especially with everything we went through, the drama this whole year, and obviously missing a big piece, and everything we added to our team and the way our team is set up. So I really had to take my game to another level, whether it’s offensively, defensively or playmaking, and obviously I’ve got great teammates that give their all, and that’s helping a lot. But it always goes back to winning. I know that for us to win I’ve got to be dominant. As long as we win, I’ll be at that level and I’ll have a chance to win it all and win the MVP, but to answer your question, the play speaks for itself. Every single night ​​that’s what I’ve been doing offensively and defensively, and I don’t think I’m going to stop that.”

Draymond Green on Warriors lack of size/preparing for playoff teams with a strong paint presence: 

“I think it’s not so much worrying about what they have and how they can dominate the paint and how they have so much size, more so than putting them in positions that’s uncomfortable for them. When you do have that size, you also have to guard on the other end as well. How can you take advantage of that? What way can you take advantage of them going inside on the offensive end? How can you use that against them? I don’t think it’s necessarily worried about what they’re so good at and how they’re going to punish you, more so than how do you combat that and make them pay for the size and make them pay for playing traditionally big.”

LeBron James expresses admiration for Luka Doncic: 

“I love everything about his game. I love everything about him. The way he plays the game reminds me of the way I play the game. We’re just triple threats. We rebound. We pass, which is the number one thing on our mind, trying to keep our teammates engaged and keeping our teammates feeling good on the floor, keeping our teammates in rhythm. And we will put 40 on you too if you disrespect us.”

Nikola Jokic on which NBA big men he watched when first coming over from Europe:

“I mean, when I came here the first time I was watching Tim Duncan. I was watching Dirk. I was watching Boris Diaw. I was watching a little bit of LaMarcus Aldridge. I just wanted to kind of take a little bit of everything.”

Zach LaVine on sharing All Star Weekend with Bulls teammates DeMar DeRozan & Ayo Dosunmu:

“It’s been great having more guys on the team being out here to participate. The year that we’re having, obviously, me and DeMar being on the team and Ayo being on the Rising Stars game, it shows the progression of the franchise. We’re trending in the right direction, and obviously, we’re all here for a reason.”

Khris Middleton gets asked if he sees the Bucks as underdogs:

“You know, that’s a great question. I don’t know. I know for the most part, we really don’t worry about what the media says about us. We know what we need to do. We know what we’re facing on a night-in, night-out basis. Last year, the media didn’t talk about us much until we got later toward the end of the Playoffs or in the Finals. We’re not worried about the outside influences as much. We just worry about what we need to do inside that locker room.”

Ja Morant talks the responsibility of being a point guard/championship goals: 

“I just feel like as a point guard you have to be a leader, so that’s how I carry myself no matter if it’s me talking to my teammates or how I work on the court. Our goal is to win the championship, and I feel like as long as we stay locked in, continue to grow together, play together, that goal can be achieved. We just got to stay the course, take it day by day and let it play out.”

Dejounte Murray looks back on the Spurs’ legendary past while also discussing their future: 

“San Antonio was blessed to have Tim, David Robinson, Manu, Tony, Sean Elliott. I could go on and on. Even the role guys they put around those guys, they were blessed. We were just talking about LeBron in year 19. Eventually he’s going to be done playing. So you enjoy it in the moment and know there’s always going to be a time where things get sent back and you’ve got to find a way to get back going toward the right direction. I think we’re going in the right direction. I think we’ve got a lot of great pieces, but the main thing, everybody is great humans and they work hard. When you’ve got that combination and are willing to learn, it’s only right that things will start going in the right direction.”

Chris Paul is asked what WNBA player he would want to have as a teammate: 

“As my teammate. I might take D.T. (Diana Taurasi). All these years being in the league, it’s the first time I’ve been on a team that had a WNBA affiliate. Me and D.T. be at the gym talking hoop all day every day. We’re just as competitive with each other. We both get into it with the officials all the time, so I feel like it’s a match made in heaven.”

Erik Spoelstra on LeBron James playing the center position:

“I feel remiss about that. If I knew he was willing to play center, I’d have done that 10 years ago. He played 1 through 4 anyway, but put all the chips in and decided to run all five positions. Ron Rothstein, my old assistant coach, had 40 years of experience in this league and was with the Bad Boys with Chuck Daly and our first head coach at the Heat. He was a great mentor as a young coach getting into this business, but he always said to me back then 10 years ago, he was like, ‘If we started LeBron the entire season at any one of the positions, he would be the best player in the league and the best player at that position, whether it was the 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5.’”

Jayson Tatum gives the ultimate respect to DeMar DeRozan:

“Man, Deebo, he’s been playing amazing this year. Before I got to the league, even in my first year, first couple years in the league, he was always one of my favorite players and somebody that kind of mentored me a little bit in my earlier years that I still talk to to this day. But what he’s been doing this season, I don’t think it gets talked about enough. He’s been unbelievable for the league, unbelievable for the Bulls, and he’s having an incredible season.”

Karl-Anthony Towns talks growing as a player: 

“I feel like a different player than I was my first All-Star game, my second All-Star game. I think I relied so much on my athleticism and youthfulness that sometimes I put smarts and intelligence to the side, and I made it work. It got the job done, but it didn’t need to be that difficult. So as I got older, I learned with experience how to use my energy with more quality than quantity.”

Andrew Wiggins on who’s made the biggest impact on him: 

“My mom. My mom was a really, really, really great athlete, too. Was in the Olympics, got two silver medals, has a record at Florida State. So, both of them, having both of them as parents, I’m blessed.”

Rudy Gobert sees improvement in Nikola Jokic’s defense:

“He’s got better defensively year after year. I’m not surprised. He’s a guy that is a winner, and everything he does, he does it to win.”

Fred VanVleet believes he can make more All Star Games in the future:

“This is just my welcoming. I don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon. So hopefully this is just the first, not the last, and I can continue to have a long healthy career at a high level.”