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Barbara Terry interview with Shawn Marion

Shawn Marion has played in the NBA since 1999 – for the Phoenix Suns from his rookie season until he was traded for Shaquille O’Neal (along with Marcus Banks) to the Miami Heat in 2008. He is currently playing for the Dallas Mavericks. Shawn is a four-time all-star and won medals in both the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. He is called The Matrix because he is known as one of the most versatile players in the NBA today; in fact, twice in his career – in ‘04-’05 and ‘06-’07 – he was top five in rebounding and steals in the NBA. He was the first person to accomplish that feat since The Admiral – David Robinson – did it in 1992. While he’s known as a gamer on the court, off the court Shawn is an avid car collector.

What was your first car?

Buick Park Avenue, 1996, gold, four-door.

Did you buy it with your own money or did your par­ents buy it for you?

I bought it for $1,000 back in college at Indiana, at one of those little, you know, those car places – little shop, like a little lot.

Like a little tote-the-note type place.

Yeah, yeah. Saw the lot, had a little car out there and I test-drove it. I guess my coach took me because I didn’t have a car. I had a little bit of money. We found one.

How many miles did it have on it? Was it a little on the rough side?

It had enough. That’s why I paid $1,000 for it.

How long did you keep it ?

I had it for a year and a half, possibly two years.

Where do you think that car is now ?

Actually, I shipped it to Vegas when I went to college. That was my car. I had, maybe, two months out there in Vegas. Come to find out, I was trying to do right by having it serviced, but they didn’t really service it when they said it did. I heard this ticking and it blew up.

Did it overheat?

Actually it didn’t overheat. What happened was, after they said they serviced it and they didn’t fix it, I kept on driving it. I had it checked again and the guy was, like, ‘Dude, it’s gone. It’s just a matter of time until it stops going.’ So I was, like, just keep it then. He impounded it and took it to the impound.

What all do you drive now?

I drive a variety of cars. I drive a ’71 Cutlass Supreme; I just had that redone. I drive a 2008 Maserati, a 2006 or 2007 Mark LT, a 2004 760 BMW, 2006 Mustang GT…

What color do you like when it comes to your cars?

I like white. Most of my cars are white except my Maserati. That was my 30th birthday gift to myself, so it’s yellow. I was going to get white, but went yellow instead.

What other cool cars do you sport around in?

What else do I have…a 1966 Lincoln Continental GT,’70 Chevelle. I’m missing something. How many is that?

Wow…l lost count.

Oh, an H2 Hummer. That’s in Chicago with the Mustang. The Dodge Magnum’s in Phoenix. That’s it, those are my rides.

What cars are you going to show us today?

’71 Cutlass and my Maserati. I would do my Lincoln, but the Lincoln’s not here. It’s at the arena.

How old were you when you first learned how to drive?

Twelve or 13.1 spent a little time in Arkansas with my fam­ily on farms and stuff. My uncle used to let me drive pick­up trucks and tractors and stuff. That’s where I learned.

And how old were you when you got your driver’s license?

Fourteen.

Fourteen? Was it a hardship license?

Yeah, it was a hardship license.

Can you drive a stick shift?

Yes I can. I used to drive a Porsche Carrera.

A 911?

Yeah, a 911.1 had a brand new one, right when it came out. A 2006-2007, right around there.

Those are nice. Nothing drives like a Porsche 911.

I love a Porsche. I’m thinking about getting another one. I’m going to get a turbo this time – a white on red one.

What type of music do you listen to while you are cruising?

I listen to a little bit of everything. It doesn’t matter who it is – alternative, variety, pop, whatever.

What about H?

That’s rap.

A little bit of Luther Vandross?

Luther’s all right, you know. I guess it depends on what kind of mood I’m in. I listen to a little bit of everything, though. Luther is kind of chill. Maybe I will listen to him when I have a girl around or something.

Yeah, Luther is a little bit of baby-making type music.

Yeah.

Do you get a lot of speeding tickets?

I’ve had my share.

Is there a points system here in Miami, or do you just hire lawyers to take care of them?

I don’t hire lawyers for anything. There was a points sys­tem in Phoenix. Here, it’s a point system as well, but I had an out-of-state license, so I just paid the fine. Once you’re here so long, you have to get a Miami license. Now I have one, but I haven’t gotten a ticket as of yet.

Knock on wood. Do you find that when you get pulled over, you’re able to talk your way out of the ticket?

(CHUCKLESI Interesting. I got pulled over because my Maserati didn’t have the right exhaust system on it. So I got pulled over for my car being loud.

What kind of exhaust? Flow Master?

No. I have one of those on my Chevelle. This one was cus­tom-made for my Maserati, but it was loud. Real loud.

Okay, so you modify your vehicles. Do you modify all of them? Do you get larger rims, low-profiles, new exhaust systems on all of them or leave some of them alone?

For the most part, I love my music, so I might put a sub­woofer in all of them. And I definitely have iPods hooked up in all of my cars. The only one I don’t have it in is my Maserati, but that’s because it’s new and they haven’t come out with a system to hook it up to yet. Hopefully, they will soon. Pretty much, I put larger rims on my cars, not low-profiles because the streets are really bad and the more you hit bumps and stuff, you have a tendency to get flat tires with the bigger rims. If I do put low-profiles on, I don’t put big rims on to make sure I have enough white­wall showing to have cushion in the car. I don’t like to change the rods out. If you go too deep, you’ll mess up the rod.

What’s the top speed that you have driven in a vehicle?

Maybe 115 or 120 in a BMW.

You will have to ramp up the speed when you get the turbo Porsche.

Not on the highway. That’s why I got rid of the Porsche. Even in my Maserati, it makes you want to go fast. It’s, like, you do 80 miles an hour, you don’t even feel it.

When you sit down in the driver’s seat, you go, ‘Yeah’…You get that umph.

Everybody thinks when you get in a fast car, you’re on the Autobahn. You just go for it. Plus, I’ve seen a lot of bad accidents.

Speaking of accidents, do you wear your seatbelt?

Sometimes. You know what. I’ve been in a couple acci­dents, nothing crazy, but you definitely need to wear a seatbelt. I think I’m restricted by them when I’m in my seatbelt. If I crash and I can’t get out. I’m going to be mad.

All right you obviously like speed and flash. Would you ever own a hybrid?

Yes I would.

A basic Prius or something like a Tahoe Hybrid ?

I’d go with an SUV hybrid. I don’t have any room for one now, but if I had another house and enough space for all my cars, I’d have one – a Lexus, maybe. There’s so many coming out on the market, you would have your pick. It just depends on what you like and what you want.

When you were a kid, did you ever have that certain dream car?…

A Saab.

A Saab was your dream car? How old were you at the time?

A Saab. I thought it was the hottest car. You remember a Richard Pryor movie called Moving?

Yes I do.

He had a Saab in that movie. It was fast and the dude took the car, with the split personality, and floored it and tore it apart. I wanted a Saab. I don’t know what it was about that car, I just loved it.

Do you have a dream car that you haven’t pulled the trigger on as of yet?

A couple cars I’ve wanted have come out, but they cost too much. I can’t see myself spending that much on a car. Cars are the worst investment you can make. I love them, though. I try to be reasonable. I definitely want a Ferrari. I’m going to get one in my range, though. I’ll be responsible. I have to get one that fits me. I have long legs and a smaller torso. My legs are really long.

How long are your legs?

They’re long. I’m six-foot seven.

You say you like to make your own statement with your choice in cars. Have you ever looked at a team­mate’s car and wanted what they had?

Maybe I have. It was a BMW. One time, one of my team­mates had one. I got one when the 760 came out. It drives better than the 745.1 put the 22s on it and kept the thick walls on it, and it rides unbelievably. I love that car. I’m never in that car. I put 14,000 miles on it in five years.

And I bet it is a white exterior with a tan interior and chromed up.

Yes it is. They changed the body style on it this year for the first time since I bought that one. I remember when I ordered it, though. I ordered it during the summer. I ordered it in downtown Chicago and it came in right before the season started.

When you first were signed, you mentioned the BMW. Was there another car that you spoiled yourself with?

That I bought with my NBA salary?

Yes.

I bought myself an Escalade.

But the real question is, what size rims?

The first set was 18s then. That was hot, but that was what everybody had.

Factories were 17, or 16?

Sixteen, yeah. It wasn’t long before I had 20s and then I got the 22s. Then 24s. I didn’t go past 24. That’s as far as I went. I’d never go past 24 in a car. They cost too much and they mess with the ride. It’s a pain to get them fixed. Like, some of these rims I have on my Benz. I had a 600.1 loved that car, but I sold it. I went through rims left and right on that car. I had Lorenzos on there and, man, they cost. Every time I bent the rim or broke it, I had to replace them. It cost $2,500, so I was, like, ugh…

Do you prefer cars, trucks or SUVs?

I like trucks.

Why are trucks your choice?

All of my family has had trucks. I wanted a truck, too. You can do a lot of stuff with pick-up trucks. You can haul stuff. You can pull stuff.

How many cars do you think that you’ve owned from the get-go?

I have nine. Now, let me see if I’m forgetting one. No, 15. Right around 15. Two Escalades, Park, Jeep, Benz, Porsche. No, two Porsches. So, 16.

Have you ever been involved in a car accident ?

Yeah, but never in my own cars.

So you only wreck other people’s cars? CHUCKLES!

I had demo deals. Now, if you want to count those…

Okay…

I had a Chrysler and I had a GTX. When it first came out, it had TVs. It had the 20s on it. It was nice.

Sounds like they really hooked you up.

I had those two cars. I had a Durango, a Chrysler 30. Now, if you’re asking how many I bought since I’ve been in the league. I’ve bought more than that because I bought my family some, too.

What are your plans after basketball? Have you thought about it at all? I don’t want to push you into retirement but I am curious.

Yeah. I want to travel the world when I finish playing.

What places have you traveled to so far?

Where do you want me to start? Australia, South America…Brazil, Greece, Istanbul, Turkey, Suri, Montenegro, Italy. I’ve also been to Germany, we went to Paris and London this pre-season. I’ve been to

Barcelona, Spain. I’ve been to Saint Tropez. We went to Nice. We drove up to Monte Carlo. I’ve been to Kuwait. Oh, I’ve been to the Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico.

Out of all the cars that you’ve owned, what has been your all-time favorite car?

All-time favorite? I love my BMW.

The 760.

Yeah. I love that car. All my cars are different and I love all of them.

You love them all in different ways.

Yes. I love my old-school, though. There’s nothing like an old-school muscle car.

I do agree, there is nothing like a good classic ride.

Those are the only cars that maintain value. All my old cars, I can get top dollar for. All three of my old cars have matching numbers. They have the same engine in them. I just did some modifications to them. I did some body work, of course. I upgraded the brake sys­tem to a custom disc break system in my Lincoln. That thing is big. They all have a custom disc brake system in them. Those interiors are originals restored, but to my liking. I get attention in my new cars, especially the Maserati because it’s yellow. But those old cars turn heads, too, everywhere I go.

Everyone loves classics. You’re into a whole other demographic, at that point.

Yeah, classics hold their value. You can go buy an old- school muscle car and put 30 or 40,000 in it and you have a collector’s piece. You can hold it for 30 years and pass it through generations. Even if you only hold it for five or six years, you can get all your money out of it – especially if you do it the right way. That’s the thing I learned. Cars are cool toys. They’re fun, they’re expensive habits. I drive my cars, too. I run them hard. I don’t take them to shows and put them away. I have them insured to drive them every day. –

Shawn had a really great personality, and he knew how to work the camera. He was loose and ready at our photo shoot, used music, danced, was cute and funny, and we got some great photos. When we arrived at his house, Shawn, his college buddy from Indiana and his cousin Craig Carter Ialso Shawns publicist) were watching the Miami Dolphins play on one of his big-screens. We also found Shawn to be one of the biggest Cubs fans around.

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