An Interview With Adam Morrison

July 21, 2004

EDITOR'S NOTE:  The following has been reprinted with permission of USA Basketball.

By Pete Sousa

USA Basketball Staff

Describing Kevin Costner's character Crash Davis in the movie Bull Durham, Max Patkin, the Clown Prince of Baseball (of course playing himself) notes to Susan Sarandon's character Annie, "He's a different type of player, he reads books without pictures." That's exactly how I'd describe Adam Morrison if somebody asked me to sum up the 20 minutes I spent with him after a USA National Team Trials session on Saturday.

It's not a knock on other college sophomores to say Morrison is "different." It's to be expected to find most guys on a college campus playing XBOX, Play Station 2 or watching television when you walk into his dorm room. That's all I did. I certainly never read Jack Kerouac; I don't have much of an understanding of Che Guevara (although I know his face is tattooed on Mike Tyson's stomach) and I'm not the guy to dial up if you're looking to talk health care.

Although he has some ideas he feels could make the USA a better place, don't come at Morrison with any anti-American talk. That's not him at all. You might want to look at his presence here, working towards a spot to represent his country, if you have any doubts about Morrison's feelings for the red, white and blue.

No matter where you come down on the issues of politics, Guevara, health care and some of the other interesting things Morrison can talk about for days, you've got to appreciate this gutsy diabetic's hunger for knowledge at such a young age (19). Still, Morrison wants to make a difference in this world and already has in some cases.

Different? No, lets try fascinating. Don't believe me, read on and see for yourself how this thought-provoking zone buster doesn't impose but proposes some interesting ideas a little more Ralph Nader than George Bush or John Kerry.

USA Basketball: How does it feel to don the USA Basketball jersey? We're talking Jordan, Bird, Magic, that's a pretty serious basketball legacy.

Morrison: It's big time. It's great for Gonzaga and some exposure for myself. It's great for me to be a part of USA Basketball, to come out here and play against some of the best players in the country.

USA Basketball: You mention Gonzaga, where your play as a freshman put you on the college basketball landscape nationally. What is it you do that separates you from the rest of the forwards in the country?

Morrison: I think I shoot the ball pretty well. I play smarter than some other players too. Because I don't have the athletic ability that everybody else has, I've got to use my mind to make up for my god given talents.

USA Basketball: Lets talk about that mind. I've heard that you're a well-read guy, who is you favorite author?

Morrison: Probably, hmm, there's too many. But probably Che Guevara.

USA Basketball: Let's take off the handcuffs. Give me your top couple of authors.

Morrison: Che Guevara, Ray Bradburry, John Steinbeck, I love Of Mice and Men, Jack Kerouac, Neil Postman. Postman's the guy who wrote Amusing Ourselves To Death.

USA Basketball: What turns you on about Che?

Morrison: Just the adversity he dealt with in life, what he did for small countries of the world as a whole. Standing up for lower people, instead of the top tier. That takes a lot of guts on the world level to do that. So that's what's drawn me to him.

USA Basketball: Speak about your adversity a little. It's hard not to notice you taking pit stops on the bench during these practices to give yourself shots of insulin. I know you must get this question a lot, but tell me what it's like to play basketball with diabetes?

Morrison: It's different. Some days the sugars are up and down and your body just doesn't feel right but it's no excuse. You gotta just go out there and give it 110 percent, even though you don't feel well. That's one thing I've noticed for myself. I wouldn't want to say it's unfair, but it's definitely different. Some days your body isn't feeling right and it affects your game.

USA Basketball: I've got to imagine you've developed a comfort zone at Gonzaga with the doctor and trainers there, what is it like to come out here and tryout for this team and have to monitor all of that stuff in a different setting, with a different team?

Morrison: Yea, that's a good question. There's the time change and not eating the same meals I normally would. But these are the cards I've been dealt and I gotta deal with it wherever I am.

USA Basketball: Talk with me a little about the November election, who do you like for President?

Morrison: Personally, I wouldn't voter for either Kerry or Bush. I'd probably vote for Nader or a third party candidate. But like I always say, `don't make a decision till you educate yourself.' So I wouldn't say either of them right now, because I haven't educated myself on their views. It's not fair for me to say `I don't like him or him,' because I haven't read up on them yet.

USA Basketball: Would you ever want to get into the political ring after basketball?

Morrison: Not right now, but I've always thought about how I could make a difference in the area of health care. Being a diabetic, I've seen that side of it. I'd probably make it more affordable for underprivileged families to get medical help, because there is a huge problem in America with underprivileged people trying to afford medicare. It's unfair to see some kid not getting the type of technology I do just because my parents have the means to provide that for me. That's the way I feel. That's one thing I would always try to change, along with raising money for diabetes.

USA Basketball: I see you're already working towards raising money for diabetes. Tell me what you've got in the works now.

Morrison: I'm trying to get something going next year. Probably do some kind of banquet and go from there. I'd like to do a local commercial and just get things going. We're right there on a cure, but there is a big problem with people trying to afford medicare. I want to have the kids that don't have the resources to have a chance too.

USA Basketball: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Morrison: Hopefully playing ball somewhere. If not, just living life.



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