What It’s Like – Facing a Former Team

The emotion, the familiarity, the competition. NBA players spoke to Yahoo Sports about how it all comes together when they went back to play against their former mates.

Video Transcript

What is it like to play against a former team?

Playing against a former team is sometimes emotional.

It’s emotional. It’s motivating.

It’s definitely motivating.

Definitely motivating.

Obviously, you want to beat those guys. You want to win.

Sometimes you just want to give them that, yeah, this is what you missed out on.


ANTHONY DAVIS: Playing against your former team, it’s a little bit emotional. And it’s also motivating, you know, me being in [INAUDIBLE] seven years, it’s first time back. I was very emotional, nervous, anxious motivated. And I able to get the win.

I think I set the record for most points in the comeback game to the former team. After we won, I was just like, man, I don’t know if I want to be excited or I want to cry. Just so much emotion going on right now. It’s kind of like every time I go back. Like, they still boo me. And it’s fun to go against your former team.

KEVIN DURANT: To play against a former team, you compete a little bit harder because you know that guy’s a brother of yours. And you shared the same locker room, so he knows you a little deeper. You just want to have that friendly competition. It ramps up a notch when you see a guy that you know.

Chris Paul returns to New Orleans for the first time since his trade to the Clippers.

CHRIS PAUL: It definitely motivates you a little more. When I first went from New Orleans to LA when I played against New Orleans, it’s like, OK, got to beat him. You just got to beat them. I guess as the years go by, some of those relationships with those former teams sort of change a little bit, but not so much. And it’s just the fact that you’re so familiar with those teams. And that’s why you’re going to win.

PAUL GEORGE: It’s a little mix of everything, playing against your former team. So many people that you see, the memories, the bonds, but then you have to snap back into it that you got to go and win a game. So it’s an emotional roller coaster, playing against your former team.

KEMBA WALKER: When I went and played back in Charlotte for the first time, that was a really special moment for me.

Please welcome back to [INAUDIBLE] City, Kemba Walker.

KEMBA WALKER: There wasn’t any bad blood. It wasn’t anything where I’m like, I want to go in and destroy these guys. No, it was more so I want to be here. And they showed me a lot of love when I went back to Charlotte. They even brought tears in my eyes. It was a very, very special moment for me.

KEVIN LOVE: I only have one former team. But playing against them is almost like going back home in a way.

Love on the block. Jump. [INAUDIBLE] home.

KEVIN LOVE: You know that feel of playing someplace familiar. But at the same time, you have to move past that and just understand the competition is what you’re thirsting for.

DEMAR DEROZAN: It’s fun. It’s exciting. You kind of have a different type of juice to you. And you kind of just want to go out there with that extra killer mentality. You go out there and get the win and definitely put on a show.

JIMMY BUTLER: It doesn’t motivate me. I take every game the same. They don’t hit different. I just want to win. But I love playing against Minnesota. I love getting booed. I don’t think you should be liked or loved by everybody, except for Chicago. Chicago, please don’t boo me. Everybody else, feel free.

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