On Training Camp…
LN: The first week of training camp is over. How was it?
RS: It was training camp. You look forward to it but it’s long days and hard work. It was nothing I haven’t seen before.
LN: Howard is out, giving you the chance to really show what you’ve got. Does this make you nervous at all?
RS: I don’t see anything bad about playing behind Dwight; I get to learn from one of the best centers. I really don’t feel like there is pressure.
LN: Are you worried about Greg Somogyi, seeing as he and you play the same position? He does have three inches of height on you.
RS: I mean, yeah. But it is all friendly competition.
LN: How do you intend to stand out from him and the other rookies looking to make this 2012-2013 Lakers team?
RS: I need to play hard and do what the coaches ask me to do. Honestly, let the chips fall where they may. I don’t have all the decisions; it’s in their hands. I have to do what I do best.
LN: Can you give me one thing that you can bring to the table that the others can’t.
RS: I can always bring energy. And I play great defense.
LN: So far, you’ve been one of the most energetic players I have ever spoken with. But all of this must be a tough experience, especially when you have a son at home I am sure you are thinking about. When things don’t look to be going your way, how do you stay motivated?
RS: I have a phrase I say: “water the bamboo.” I have it tattooed on me. It’s a metaphor meaning you might not see things work out right away, but if you keep doing the right thing, do it well and work on it, eventually you see great progress.
LN: That’s really interesting. Can you elaborate on where this metaphor comes from?
RS: Basically, the Japanese plant bamboo and for three years they water it every day. After the third year, no shoots of bamboo have grown. It’s not until the fourth year that the bamboo will grow six feet in three months. It’s about patience and knowing your hard work will pay off.
LN: There is still some time to show the Lakers what you can bring. What do you expect from the rest of this training camp?
RS: I have just got to play my game. It may get tougher, the camp may get weaker. But the Lakers brought me here for a reason. I have to go from there basically.
On basketball in general…
LN: I understand you are originally from Canada. How long have you been in the U.S.?
RS: Well I was born in the U.S. and lived here till I was seven, and then moved to Canada. I came back after my senior year of high school and went to Gonzaga.
LN: How was it playing at Gonzaga, which has a rich history of basketball?
RS: It’s Gonzaga. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life and I would not take it back. I felt great with my decision going there and I wouldn’t go any other place if I had to do it again.
LN: You and Darius Johnson-Odom, another Lakers hopeful, have played against each other the past few years since he went to Marquette. Did you both have a relationship prior to this draft?
RS: Well, I worked out at IMG Academy in Florida with him for three weeks before the draft. Both of us kind of kidded around and then all of a sudden we were teammates. I think it’s mutual that we want each other to succeed and do our best.
LN: For this upcoming season, who do you think is the Lakers biggest competition this year?
RS: In the West, absolutely OKC. And of course, my vote for the East has to go to Miami.
LN: How about who you think will win the championship?
RS: The Lakers. Of course.
LN: That’s what I like to hear! Let’s end this interview on something quirky about you. Can you tell the Lakers Nation readers if you have a secret talent? If so, what is it?
RS: I know almost every movie you can possibly think of that has ever been made. I would consider that talent. My hobby is watching movies.
LN: What is your favorite movie?
RS: Baby Boy (2001) with Tyrese and Snoop Dogg.
LN: Last but not least, are there any words that you live by?
RS: Have no regrets. Life is too short to have regrets. Live every day to the fullest.
If you look at Robert, you notice a few things; he’s big, which translates well to his center position, hes got the arsenal of tattoos you see on many of toady’s athletes, and he looks like he was just made for basketball. But one thing that may not come off right away is how he possesses a great realness and ability to relate to you when you speak to him, while also conveying intelligence. It’s rather hard to find that balance.
When I started my interview with Sacre, he has just left the tattoo parlor, filling up the last spot on his arm with a tattoo of legendary rapper Snoop Dogg. It took five hours. Intrigued by the process, the burning question to ask “why Snoop?,” Sacre and I spent a good 15 minutes chatting about everything that came to mind before I realized I was there to do a job.
This ease that Robert has that makes you think that you’ve been buddies for years translates to his life in a number of ways. When it comes to the Lakers, he fits right in. The hard working player goes well with the easy teammate he can be, especially with the characters this L.A. team picked up during the summer. But Robert doesn’t intend to fade back; rather, the big man plans to be the back-up to Dwight the Lakers can count on. Playing as part of the starting five without nervousness on Sunday night is the first sign of a stable player. His dependability to live up to the challenges thrown at him is admirable, but Sacre is also fearless. I mean, he has to be; this isn’t the time to wimp out.
I’ve experienced all types of athletes working in athletics for eight years, but I don’t think I have met someone so sure of themselves as Robert. At 23, Robert’s got the maturity to be sure of himself and the Lakers team as a full-time roster player. His life is about basketball and playing basketball, but more importantly, he has a winner’s mentality. And from what LN has heard this summer, the coaches and players have done nothing but emphasize a championship in 2013, nothing less. Sacre’s tapped into that thirst, and I believe he’s an asset to get L.A. there.