More than ever, we as basketball fans have been able to follow the journey of countless youth players from their earliest days in AAU to making it as professional athletes.
Ivan Rabb is one of those players that thousands of basketball fans have followed in recent years. From his high school glory days as an McDonald’s All-American to his selection in the second round of the NBA Draft two years later, many fans have followed Rabb’s career every step of the way. The 6’10” forward has been known for his ability to be a consistent, double-double player who plays effectively on both ends of the floor. And at only 22 years old, Rabb still has a great deal of upside remaining.
I spoke with the California native after the Westchester Knicks defeated the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
Arden: How has your first several weeks in New York been?
Ivan Rabb: So far, so good! I’m just trying to remain healthy and work on my game whenever I get the chance. It felt really good getting this win tonight, because we were on a skid, and we all contributed to it. I just want to continue improving and helping as much as I can.
A: This year’s W-Knicks are such a young team and you’re one of the few players, with legitimate NBA experience. Have you had to step up as a leader?
I: Oh, absolutely. And I’m fine with that. I’m learning more about being vocal and leading by example, so my communication with my teammates can go on all day. And whenever they have something to tell me, I’m open-minded and care about what they say. At the end of the day, it’s a learning process and I’m still very young.
A: Speaking of age, it’s getting crazier to see players like you enter the league very young and we were just watching you in high school. How do you describe what’s happening?
I: Man, it’s just a journey, or better yet a marathon. Everyday, I have to lock in and do what I have to do in order to return to where I once was. I know, I’ve done some good things in the NBA and down here in the G League, so at this point, it’s just a matter of being productive and preparing for my chance when it arrives.
A: What were your key objectives at the start of this season?
I: To start it off, I wanted to play as hard as I can. That was really important to me. After that, it’s a balance between improving my defense so I become a anchor on that side of the floor and offensively, turning into a better jump-shooter. But right now, my health is the biggest thing to work on and I hope it improves as the season goes along.
A: As a by-product of today’s social media era in basketball, do you think it’s good or bad?
I: It’s a little bit of both and it starts with the kind of person, you are, as not everybody can handle the fame and success right away. I mean some folks lose themselves along the way or are taken advantage of. In my opinion, it comes down to your mental health and personal values and how you approach life and basketball; and for some it was easier to grasp and for others, it took them a while to understand if they ever did.