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The X-Man Stops By To Talk SlamBall With The Fans

By James Anderson
April 6, 2003

As a writer, I simply try and get the facts that will hopefully most interest you in a person. I would be lying if I told you it wasnít an honor to be able to interview someone I watched play in the NBA for many years. Iím just as interested as all of you to find out what drew Xavier to the sport of SlamBall and where he hopes to see it go with him in the mix to help get it there. Letís do this interview.

Xavier, welcome to Allsports SlamBall and for giving us the time to talk about your career in the NBA and your future in SlamBall.

X: First off, thanks for inviting me to speak on your site. I like what you guys are doing for these players in SlamBall.

We have a young audience here, so what do you consider to be your career highlights from your NBA and overseas playing days?

X: Playing in the Western Conference finals against Los Angeles my second year in the NBA and playing against Chicago in the semi finals, in my seventh year, were the most amazing games for me in my career. But being part of the NBA All-Star team in 1988 was an honor. Throughout my NBA career, I was recipient of NBA player of the month 2 times. I have been in a lot of playoff games, but every time we got there, the Lakers and Bulls would kick our butts.

How would you describe your playing style while in the NBA?

X: I was a physical, post up, one on one type player. I have a 15-17 foot range jump shot, with decent handling skills. I was 205 lbs. when I first came into the NBA and grew to about 240, so guys knew that I was just getting harder and tougher.

I was searching the internet and saw a comment how you went nose to nose with Michael Jordan during the playoffs while playing in New York. Is that no quarters attitude what weíll see in your coaching style or have you softened a bit since your playing days?

X: I am an intense person. Whatever it is I am doing, I get my heart into it. There was no disrespect to Michael Jordan, but that was my job, to intimidate him. Here in SlamBall, I am going to be that same intense person. Being the coach, I want to win. I am going to be intense, and my players and the fans will see it throughout the season.

What was your first impression of SlamBall when you saw it played?

X: I was like, what the hell are they doing? You see a guy coming off the trampoline and getting smacked. Wow!! You have to be tough and have a lot of heart to play this game.

Have you gotten on the trampolines yourself to see what your guys are going through?

X: Nope. No way itís happening. I have had too many surgeries on these knees. 5 and counting and not looking forward to a 6th.

How were you approached by SlamBall officials concerning coaching a team?

X: SFX Sports, who has represented me my entire career, asked me if SlamBall would be something that I would like to be involved with. I jumped on the opportunity, and I am here today to win some games in this new sport.

Was the desire ever there to coach in the NBA and if it was how did you come to choose SlamBall over the NBA?

X: I had no aspirations to coach for an NBA team right now. I was actually looking into doing sports commentating prior to being approached on SlamBall. Living one hour away from Charlotte, I was looking at possibilities in working with them.

Are you surprised at the talent level of the players in this sport? Playing on a trampoline is not something anyone can walk out here and do at such a high level.

X: I am not amazed by their talent. When you are athletic, you can adjust your talent to the game. Whether its football, hockey, or basketball, the athletes need to adjust themselves to the game. These guys are athletes, and they are doing just that. It is about a two month process to learn the trampolines properly, and that is their period to prove themselves that they can make that adjustment.

Tell us about your team now. You have a great mix of experience and talent. You picked up one of the smartest players in the league in James Willis, bruisers in George Byrd and Joe Cocca, smooth Handler in Calvin Patterson and clearly some nice pieces to fill in all of your spots. Give us a scouting report and what role everyone will fill to make this team more than just the typical expansion team trying to feel their way around. What will we get from the newcomers and the influence of the returning players?

X: James, Calvin and Joe are veterans who will provide the leadership and understanding of how to play SlamBall for the newly drafted players. James was part of the Rumble championship team, and he understands the road to being a champion. When I am not on the guys, he is. He is like my player coach, and he has been a big strength in my learning process of this game. George Byrd is our dominating stopper, whom we expect to get 15-20 blocks per game. Being 6í8Ē and 275 pounds, you have to expect guys to get intimidated by his physical presence. He is a mountain of a man. Joe Cocca will provide some outside shooting for us, and be a physical defensive player on the open court. Keith and Bryce are our sleepers. They will provide a strong offense and physical defense for our team. They both have that athletic ability to get height off the trampoline and jam on the defense, and make defensive impact on the floor. The Riders look good this season, and we are going to make this expansion year be one worth speaking of.

Whatís been the biggest adjustment for you so far? In the NBA, contact like this would get you suspended.

X: Luckily for them, Iím not playing. On the serious side, some rules do switch over into this game. There are still dribbling and jump shots. The difference is once you place that ball on the floor, you can get smacked, and the jump shots from the trampolines can get blocked.

How does it feel running your own program now?

X: I feel great having my own team. It is a challenge to learn the rules, learn how to run plays I have never been familiar with, and running the new offense and defense strategies of SlamBall. But overall, I feel great about my chances this upcoming season.

Letís be honest in that your name recognition will be a key in SlamBallís future success, but do you feel any pressure to put a competitive team on the tramps to win games and maybe a title?

X: Well yeah. In any sport or anything in life you want to win, you have to prove yourself. I have to prove myself as a coach. Itís a game I have never played or coached before. Whatever I put my name on, will get that little bit more recognition, and I have to put my best performance in, to make sure that my name is represented with respect.

You clearly enjoy the game, so what place in the sports world would you like to see SlamBall at in the next few years and how fans view it?

X: I would love to see SlamBall expand. Beyond expanding teams, I would like its viewing audience to expand as well. The people who created this game, their goal and hope is to see this game on live television, and I hope to see their dream come true. 30 years ago I would spend $4 to get into a wrestling match. Today you canít even get parking for that. Like in any business or sports venture, you want it to grow. More than anything, I would love to be a part of it at its early stages, which I am lucky enough to be part of.

Hereís your chance to speak out on any issues youíd like on SlamBall or just let fans know you intend to be a force in the game for years to come.

X: What I like about SlamBall is the slams. I love the creativity, watching a 250 lb. guy doing a windmill reverse off the trampoline. The physicality of the big and small guys is amazing. Your size cannot affect your play on the court, because it is a physical game. I love to see all these athletes from so many different backgrounds come together and create such an amazing game. The intensity of the game, within a 15 second shot clock, is amazing. The time is so short and the game is so fast, and the action is entertaining. I am just looking forward to the season, and hope that everyone does well. Thanks for having me on the site, and I look forward to speaking with you in the future.

I want to thank Xavier, for sharing his time with the fans. It certainly helps to reinforce our opinion that SlamBall is here to stay and better days are still ahead. Before you know it Slam Higher HigherÖSlam Harder will be known worldwide with the help of guys like the X-Man that love the sport as much as we do.

I want you all to know that tickets will be available to attend SlamBall games this season. Potential fans need to be in LA to attend games anywhere from 3 May - 20 May. The people at SlamBall are going all out for the fans and our site as usual. Prizes will be given away and the VIP treatment will be on display if you mention Allsports.com also.

As quoted by SlamBall officials, "We are going to give any fans whom sign up for tickets on the SlamBall website VIP passes with special treatment. And if you would like to do a contest on your site with the balls and possibly some other gifts that we may be able to get the fans, we are willing to give fans from your site the full VIP treatment, winning VIP seats, VIP passes, when they arrive, they will recieve t-shirts, SlamBall, and sponsor gifts. If that is something we can work out, that would be great. The only requirement that we request is that they are able to be on Los Angeles the days of May 3-20."

There you go folks, SlamBall is ready to roll and give you the chance to experience SlamBall live with all the excitement that goes with it and much more.

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