ThePostGame recently caught up with the Brooklyn Nets star and two-time Olympic gold medalist as he gears up for his charity dodgeball game, Dodge Barrage.
ThePostGame: I know you have the Dodge Barrage this week and Skylanders Giants is involved. How are they helping out, and how did you and your kids get into the game?
DERON WILLIAMS: [Skylanders Giants] is one of the sponsors of the event. It’s funny because I went into my agency and they had a box of what I thought were little action figures. I was like, "Can I have this for my kids?"
So I took it home and opened it up and there was a game in there as well. My kids saw it and wanted to play it. You plug in the USB to the portal and you set the little action figures on the portal. My kids thought it was the coolest thing ever and they were playing it for hours. It’s just a game they really enjoy playing.
TPG: This has been a really exciting summer for you. Over the offseason the Nets added two future Hall of Fame players as well as a new coach, Jason Kidd. What was your reaction when you heard that Jason Kidd would be your new coach?
WILLIAMS: I was excited. I think that he’s a young guy who didn’t have a lot of experience, but what he lacks in experience he makes up for in IQ and just understanding of the basketball game.
He went out and got a great staff behind him and I’m definitely excited about playing for him and getting to learn from him. He’s one of the best point guards to ever play the game, a guy I grew up emulating and trying to watch. So now I get to learn from him day in and day out. It’s going to be great for me.
TPG: What are you most looking forward to about working with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry?
WILLIAMS: Everything. I’m looking forward to playing with them, getting to know them and just learning from them. They’re three guys that all have a championship.
I’m excited to learn about leadership about just being a professional.
TPG: You recently got together some of your teammates in L.A. for workouts. What was your takeaway from those sessions?
WILLIAMS: It was great. We had a great four days out there. We were able to work out together. More importantly we got to know each other and build some chemistry.
Training camp in the NBA is so short, it’s five, six days and then you're playing preaseason games. So I think any extra time you can be around each other and get to know each other is great.
TPG: The Hall of Fame induction was Sept. 8 and Gary Payton said he enjoys watching you play because you have the same mentality as him. What's that like to hear coming from a Hall of Famer?
WILLIAMS: It means a lot. Jason Kidd and Gary Payton were my two favorite point guards growing up. Two different styles, two big point guards. For Gary to say that about me, it means a lot.
I respect him a lot as a player and as a person.
TPG: The league has become stacked with stellar point guards. Can you remember another time in your career when there have been this many superstar point guards?
WILLIAMS: I feel they’ve said that to me every year since I’ve gotten into the NBA (laughs). Since I’ve been in the NBA there have been great point guards. There are definitely a lot of young ones right now, around that 22-25 age.
TPG: Last year you got to be a centerpiece of a team in transition. New city, new stadium, new uniforms, etc. Looking back on the past season, how did that experience compare to what you thought it would be?
WILLIAMS: It was great. It was one of those things where you go in blind. When I re-signed I bought into the Brooklyn idea, but at the same time I didn’t know what it was really going to be like. And it was a great experience, starting a franchise, opening a new area. There’s a lot of excitement around the building and the team. I’m enjoying the ride and hopefully it continues to get better this year.