Nine-year veteran Jameer Nelson has spent his entire professional career creating opportunities for the Orlando Magic. The point guards everyday display of power and confidence compressed into his short, stocky frame can be likened to the conclusiveness of another concentrated point, used at the ends of sentences to finalize all doubt. In Nelsons mind, he is the man. Period. And he sits down with FOX Sports Florida in this weeks Q&A.
FS Florida: When was the first time you realized you were good enough to play in the NBA?
Jameer Nelson: Oh, I always knew I was good enough to play (laughing). But for real, my freshman year in college. I felt like I was developing a good work ethic. I had that drive to become the best I can be and not necessarily what people wanted me to be or thought I could be. I definitely started taking it more serious and Im very fortunate to be here right now.
FS Florida: Why is having that unshakable confidence in your game and in yourself so important?
Nelson: The thing is you work hard enough on your game during the off-season to know that during the season things will be easier for you. Its the hard work that produces confidence. When you know youve been putting in the time you give yourself that comfort level.
FS Florida: Whats your most embarrassing basketball moment?
Nelson: About three or four years ago I was getting back on defense, backpedaling, trying to stop the ball and the guy made a move and I fell. I wont say who it was though (laughing). But, the team definitely got on me about it for a while.
FS Florida: What about your most memorable moment?
Nelson: Definitely the day I was drafted.
FS Florida: Talk about your draft night...
Nelson: I was with my parents and my son in the green room with my agent. I was sitting there at the table waiting to be drafted. At the time, I was upset that I slipped in the draft. But now that I look back on it, it was a blessing in disguise. I was fortunate enough to be in a position to go to a team that really wanted me. It was a sense of relief for me when I heard my name. I was just like, Oh man, finally!
FS Florida: Youve spoken some about being a father in college. Your son was two years old when you graduated. Was that challenging at all trying to balance the pressures of being a student athlete and having the task of raising a son?
Nelson: It was definitely tough. It was tough being a father and a student athlete, but you know I was very fortunate to have my son because he is just a great child and he was even at a young age. Im definitely grateful for my wife. She had to do the bulk of the work and now obviously she stills does. It means a lot to have a great supporting cast.
FS Florida: Was your son added motivation for you to make it in a sense?
Nelson: Well yeah! Just me being able to provide for him. Going to a great university like St. Josephs and getting the opportunity to get an education and play basketball that helps me provide for my family.
FS Florida: What was the first thing you did after you signed your first NBA contract?
Nelson: I bought my mom and dad some things and got settled here in Orlando.
FS Florida: What kind of music do you listen to?
Nelson: To be honest I listen to a wide range of music. Youd be surprised to hear what I listen to. I even got a little Justin Bieber on some of my playlists.
FS Florida: Justin Bieber?
Nelson: Well you know everyones got a little Bieber Fever.
FS Florida: Youre from Philly, went to school at St. Josephs University in Philly, and then came to Orlando to play in the NBA. Was it hard at first being away from your family?
Nelson: First of all, Im not from Philly. Im from Chester. Chester, Pennsylvania, which is near Philly You wouldnt understand (laughing). But to answer your question, yeah, it was hard and it still is. Sometimes you just miss that home cooking, even though my wife is a great cook. Sometimes you just miss your brothers and sisters, your closest cousins, and everybody else. But, I do get to see them in the summer so thats the good thing.
FS Florida: Does it ever get ordinary to you, what you do for a living?
Nelson: You know what, no it doesnt. I always tell myself that Im living a dream. Im very blessed and very fortunate so I try to bless other people around me and others in the community with the opportunity Ive been given.
FS Florida: Tell me about a coach youve had that has taught you a lesson that you still use today?
Nelson: My college coach, Phil Martelli, taught me: To whom much is given much is expected. Meaning Im given a lot and its for a reason because people expect a lot from me.
FS Florida: How has playing basketball helped you grow as a person?
Nelson: Well it has definitely helped me become the leader that I am today. It just puts me in a comfort level. It gives me that sense of relief. When Im on the court I just feel comforted. Because, you know, were all human. We all have problems and issues on and off the court. But, when Im on the court I get a chance to just play the game I love. Its a blessing.
FS Florida: In the (very far) future, when youre telling your grandkids all these great stories about playing in the NBA, what will you be most proud to tell them?
Just that I was a hard worker. I was the guy that always put my best effort out there. And did things the way my coaches wanted me to. And that I was a leader on all of my teams.