I caught up with Ronnie Brewer in the midst of a group interview, virtually all the questions were delivered by other reporters, but I still enjoyed the answers. Ronnie struck me as very excited to be in Chicago, really outgoing, and happy to talk to you. When the interview ended, it seemed like he was still ready for more questions. The Bulls, in general, have always had likable, good character guys while I've had media access, and Brewer is no exception. What do you think of Jerry Sloan?
He's a great coach and a great guy. He really helped my career out a lot. He tought me how to work hard and that defense wins championships. He taught me how you have to be tougher than everyone else, and if you're tougher than everyone else you'll be the last man standing. He used to tell me how him and Norm Van Lier used to battle those guys night in and night out. I knew he played, but I didn't know his jersey was retired until the first time I got here and was like "Okay Coach Sloan you got some game in you". I know he had a lot of pride in this organization and having the opportunity to play for an organization like this. So I'm excited to have the pleasure to play in this uniform in this city to play for these fans.
You've got the 20 year patch representing 20 years since the first championship. What do you remember about those teams and how special is it to be a Bull now?
I tell the same story when asked about it. When I think about all the championships in 91, 92, and 93. I'm kind of biased, because everyone else like Michael Jordan, Michael Jordan, Michael Jordan, but when they used to say those introductions and there's this guy from Hamburg, Arkansaw I was like he's got to be the best player in the NBA. Pippen was a heck of a talent, hall of fame guy, I knew I wanted to play like him, have success like him, an be versatile like him. Hopefully I can have some success like he did.
Were you shocked at what happened in Utah? You were starting on a team going deep into the playoffs, all of a sudden you're out of the rotation, you're not playing, you're on a losing team?
I talked to Coach Sloan about it, and he said it's a business. Every time you're on the court you have to want every other team to want you at the end of the day. It's not a bad day when other teams are calling about you, trying to get information about you to bring you on their team. It was unfortunate, they had guys there like Wes Matthews who was a great talent to help relieve some salary cap. I was excited about my opportunity in Memphis, but unfortunately I got hurt. I was still rooting for Utah. I have so much respect for Kyle, Boozer, and D-Will. It was unfortunate that I wasn't able to go on that run with them in the playoffs.
I know Deron was really upset about it.
It happens. It's part of basketball. Some of the best guys in basketball have been traded and didn't finish with they started their career with. So I feel like that can happen to them it can happen to anyone, so you have to take it and look forward. That's what I'm trying to do.
You always hear about the injury and how he's not going to be able to shoot enough for that position, what do you say about that?
Even when I did it they said I wouldn't be able to play basketball like before. I did it in the fifth grade how do you know? I just try to work hard. I talked to Roy Williams at a basketball camp, and he said don't let anybody tell you that you can't do something. If you can't shoot, you work hard until you can knock down shots or learn to do something other than that. I've had some early success, and I'm going to try and build on that. I'll continue to work hard with these coaches to work on my range and my shooting.
Is it a comfort to come with Boozer and Kyle?
Yeah, because I know what to expect from those guys. They're going to push me in practice, and I'll push them in practice. Kyle's going to make me a better player. I'm going to work everyday with him on shooting because he's one of the best shooters in the game. He's going to push me as a shooter, and I'm going to push him by making him score on a good defender every day. It goes hand in hand and makes the SG position very strong for this team.
So many questions about Miami and those guys joining together, where do you see you guys in this mix?
Hard for me to say much about Miami. Last I checked, they weren't in the finals last year, and they weren't the runner ups. Last I checked the Lakers returned everybody and added some pieces to make them better, so they're still a really talented team in the west. As far as Miami, I think they're a great talent, but same with this team. We have a lot of talent, it just depends how fast our chemistry builds together, our team commradary, and how hard we play night in and night out. That's how championship teams becomes great. They don't take games off, they don't take possessions off, the teams you're supposed to beat, you beat them every time you play them.
How did LeBron and everything with all that affect your decision to come here?
I think everybody was waiting to see what he was going to do. Once he did, it was a domino effect and everyone was in the place they were going to be. For me, I was like whoever wanted me, whoever was the best fit for me. That's where I was going to go. When I saw Booze came, then Kyle came, then they're calling me saying the GM wants you to come, I didn't think two seconds about it, I said I'll be in there in a week.
This isn't Utah, or Memphis, this is Chicago, is the city intimidating at all or does it make you more hungry to please the fans?
It makes me so SO hungry. Had the opportunity to play in Utah, and we used to say Utah fans were the best in the NBA, but you come to Chicago, and first or last it's a sell out. Not taking away from the last few years, but we feel like we have something special this year to give the fans to cheer about. We're all in their working hard to bring one back to the city of Chicago
I definitely got the vibe that Ronnie, Kyle, and Boozer were all very close and that they had a great relationship together on the Jazz. While that may seem like a 'no brainer', it's hardly always the case, particularly given that Brewer and Korver were competing for minutes despite bringing drastically different things to the table.
I enjoyed talking to Ronnie, and I wish I had done a better job preparing some questions for him, because he was so willing to talk to the reporters and gave fairly long thoughtful answers to all the questions. He laughed a lot, seemed like a really good guy.