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Exclusive Interview With Allan Houston

When I heard the news that Allan Houston was attempting a comeback to the NBA and would be in Toronto early in the preseason,  I was excited about the chance to talk with him about his attempt to return to the NBA. Normally my only chance to snag interviews happens before games, however after the game last night I took a risk and approached him for a quick interview and he was gracious enough to provide me with some of his time despite not suiting up due to an issue with his quad. It was a classy move by a veteran player that I appreciated because he didn’t need to give his time to a reporter after he didn’t even suit up for the game.

There have been times over the past year where meeting a player has squashed the perception I had of them, however after spending some time with Allan Houston I gained an even greater appreciation for his professionalism and passion for the game of basketball.

Ryan McNeill: It’s been a couple of years since you’ve been in training camp with the Knicks. How does it feel to be back?
Allan Houston: It feels great to be back with the Knicks. My bodies still getting used to two-a-days but it feels great. It’s great to be back and to be able to contribute however I can. I don’t take being back for granted.

McNeill: Why did you chose to return to the NBA after three seasons away?
When I retired it happened so quickly, so when I started feeling good again I wanted to return to playing. Last year the timing was really bad. This year I just felt deep down it was something I was supposed to be doing. I just felt led to do this. It’s a different stage for me, it’s a different stage for the organization. At the same time, it’s a big commitment. I’m committed to the game and this organization. You look at something you can maybe pass down. Maybe I can share something I’ve experience on or off the court with these guys. Hopefully I can provide this team with a veteran presence that will be good for these guys. Ultimately, people ask me why I’m doing this and it’s because I love the game. The game has been so good to me and I figure why not (return) if I can still play.

McNeill: It sounds like you have a desire to mentor the other guys in this locker room. If for some reason you aren’t able to make the Knicks opening night roster, would you want to stay this season in a role as an advisor?
Houston: I’ve been so blessed to make it this far by not even looking past training camp…

McNeill: I’m sorry…
Houston: No, it’s okay. I understand what you’re saying. I just try to take it one day at a time. When that time comes I will think further about it but right now I’m focused on what I’ll be able to do on the court. I’ve made a physical commitment. My goal right now is to be in uniform and be able to contribute however I can.

McNeill: Do you plan to suit up for the Knicks next preseason game?
Houston: Probably. I want to rest the quad until I can function the way I can the presence on the court I want to be. I’m at the stage in my career where if I won’t get out there unless I can do the things I want to do. I’m just taking it one day at a time but most likely (I’ll play in the next game).

McNeill: Thanks for your time and good luck with your comeback attempt.
Houston: Thanks, I appreciate it.

Photo Credit: Icon Sports Media

Ryan McNeill
Ryan McNeill has appeared on ESPN Radio, MTV Canada, SiriusXM, The Fan 590 and other radio programs and TV shows. He has covered the NBA with media credentials since the 2007-08 season.
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