What is your idea of perfect happiness? Being surrounded by my friends and family. Just listening to them interacting, laughing, sharing. It is the culmination of everything I could have hoped for.
What is your greatest fear? Years ago, before I had my current manager, I was taken advantage of by people I’d trusted with my finances. That’s made me especially sensitive to the prospect of financial ruin. I’m constantly advising young athletes to be vigilant when it comes to whom you trust with your finances.
Which living person do you most admire? Barack Obama has shown us how to be a politician guided by intelligence, integrity, and compassion.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Laziness. After 30 years of being a disciplined athlete with an intensely tight schedule, I still can’t forgive myself for letting things slide.
What is your greatest extravagance? My ’48 Packard. I could make up something about its historic significance, but I just think it’s cool.
What is your favorite journey? The question suggests a spiritual journey or even an exotic trip, but I get both of those when I go to a jazz performance. It not only delights my senses but it connects me to my ethnic culture in a deeply satisfying way.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Since I’m not very talkative, I don’t think there are any.
What do you dislike most about your appearance? My sparse facial hair. Reminds me of being a teenager desperate to prove I’m an adult.
What is your greatest regret? Not staying with my piano lessons. I would love to be able to sit down right now and play a jazz classic like “Fee-fi-fo-fum.”
What or who is the greatest love of your life? My children and grandchild. It’s corny, but true. One look at any of their faces and my heart feels the physical squeeze of unconditional love.
When and where were you happiest? My college years, when everything was possible and I felt physically invulnerable.
What is your current state of mind? After the summer of Black Lives Matter protests and the outpouring of support from the American people as well as corporate America, I’m hopeful again that social justice will prevail.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Having raised five children. Believe me, running up and down a court and banging against 200-pound guys every night is easy compared to being a parent.
What is your favorite occupation? Writing. It’s hard for sports fans to understand that a well-turned phrase is as satisfying as a slam dunk.
Who are your heroes in real life? First responders. They embody what our society strives to be: compassionate, brave, and kind.
How would you like to die? Quietly, among family and friends who would be happily celebrating our shared love rather than dourly mourning my passing.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? I’m going to pull a Captain Kirk Kobayashi Maru by reprogramming your question to fit my answer. I identify with the historic fictional figure of Gulliver from Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. I like how he kept having to adapt to each world he encountered, whether he was a giant or tiny or facing the horrific Yahoos. The ability to adapt is key to a happy life.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Dishonesty. It destroys relationships. It’s something celebrities especially have to guard against because people are prone to tell you what they think you want to hear rather than the truth.