Jamal Crawford: The Mid-Range Basketball Connoisseur

Jamal Crawford was (and still is) a walking bucket. During his 20-year career, he won three Sixth Man Awards — tied with Lou Williams for the most in NBA history. Crawford sat down with The Association and discussed his love for the game, coaching his 11-year-old son JJ, his pro-am tournament in Seattle, and the lessons he learned playing with Michael Jordan.

The Association: You’re out of the game right now, but the game isn’t out of you. How often are you in the gym?

J. Crawford: I’m in the gym or at a court every single day, but it’s not always for me. I’m coaching my son’s youth team, and that is so much fun. I love to hoop and stay in shape, so I’ll be doing that regardless. 

I could thrive in any [NBA] role, but I’m not waiting by the phone, honestly!

TA: Every morning you tweet, “Another day, another opportunity…” Is this about getting back into the NBA specifically, or just the approach you take with life in general?

JC: No, no [laughs]. Just life in general, man. It’s another day, another opportunity to reach that goal. Another day to get something accomplished that maybe you didn’t the day before. 

TA: We’ve spoken about the art of the mid-ranger versus analytics — guys who can get a bucket when you need one most. Can you explain why you think the mid-range game is so important, particularly come playoff time? 

JC: The midrange is so important because it makes you less predictable. To me all the best scorers played in that area, especially in the playoffs, when every point is so hard to come by — it’s even more valuable. It’s like a jab in boxing — it keeps the defense honest.

TA: I read a story recently about how you and MJ were unstoppable in pickup together. What was it like playing with him — any fun stories or lessons he taught you along the way?

JC: Playing with MJ was one of the best things of my career. Here I have the best player ever, picking me up on his team and encouraging me to be aggressive, teaching me lessons along the way. What’s better than that? Once I was with him and he showed confidence in me, there was no looking back.

TA: Talk to me about your pro-am tournament The Crawsover — how you started it, any players who stick out from this summer. Any stories you’d like to share?

JC: It was Doug Christie’s tourney, and I played on it when I was a kid, so it’s very special to me.. The Crawsover tourney is so important now because we don’t have the [Seattle] Sonics, so the kids in the community get to see some of their favorite NBA players through this tourney. I ask the kids who they want to see, and I try to go out and get them! 

TA: If 40-year-old ‘Mal was talking to 16-year-old ‘Mal, what do you think he’d say?

JC: A 40-year-old Mal would tell a 16-year-old Mal, “Stay true to yourself, stay true to the game, and enjoy the ride because it goes fast!”

You can follow Jamal Crawford’s Pro-Am League page here.