"I'm probably going to sign some more, so you can walk back with me," said the Kings rookie.
For anyone who's met Jon Brockman, that likely doesn't come as a surprise. As we walked to the team locker room before Sacramento took the court against the New Jersey Nets — a game I had the pleasure of covering for Kings.com — the man who's been affectionately called, "The Brockness Monster," stopped for each person with an outstretched pen and paper. Sporting a cumbersome brace on the sprained right knee that has kept him out of action since February 19, he graciously chatted with the crowd and obliged with every photo request.
When he was finished signing, I had the chance to briefly speak with Jon about giving back to the fans and his on-the-court mentality. The 6'7" big man out of the University of Washington is averaging 3.0 points and 4.6 boards per game and leads the NBA in offensive rebound percentage (18.8). His presence has been sorely missed on the court for the Kings, who were out-rebounded in all but one game last week.
Can you talk about the importance of being a role model and what the fans mean to you?
(The fans) make the game. If we were out there playing all by ourselves, it would be pretty brutal doing that 82 times a year. They bring the energy and the excitement when you're at home and give you a lift. When you're on the road, I don't think there's any better feeling than having a full arena just go quiet.
Even when you come to other cities, the fans love to have you there and they're very respective of you. I just think we've got to give back to the fans just because they give us so much during the game.
When can we expect to see you back on the court, and what have you been doing during practice?
I'm not sure when I'm going to be back. I've been out for a month now, and I'm trying to get back into playing shape and get comfortable on my knee.
I've been doing rehab twice a day — stimulation, ultrasound, icing, stretching, strengthening. (I'm) just tying to get everything back to normal, so when I am ready to play, I'm not going to hurt any other part of my body just because I'm favoring (the knee).
Who were your role models growing up?
I looked up to my parents a lot. I also looked up to my coaches — Jim Marsh, my AAU basketball coach and Len Bone, my high school basketball coach. Then, Lorenzo Romar at Washington was a huge role model to me and still is.