Former NBA All-Star and New York City hoops icon Kenny Anderson dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Friday to discuss his new documentary, “Mr. Chibbs: Basketball is easy, Life is hard.”
First things first: Who or what is Mr. Chibbs?
“It’s my nickname,” Anderson said on Tiki and Tierney. “My mother named me that when I was five days old. When they brought me in to see her, she was eating, he mouth was full and she said, ‘Cheeks.’ It came out ‘Chibbs.’ So we kept Chibbs, and when we went home, my brothers, my sisters, kids in the neighborhood called me Chibbs. So every time I did something great – do well in school or on the court – she said, ‘Look at Mr. Chibbs! Look at Mr. Chibbs!’ So I just named my documentary my nickname.”
Anderson, who starred at Archbishop Molloy and Georgia Tech, was the second overall pick in the 1991 NBA Draft. He played for the Nets, Hornets, Trail Blazers, Celtics, SuperSonics, Hornets, Pacers, Hawks and Clippers and spent a year overseas before retiring in 2006.
The documentary delves into his career, as well as his struggles off the court.
“My life (has had) ups and downs,” Anderson said. “Nothing crazy. I didn’t kill nobody or anything like that. Not on drugs or anything like that. But I think (it’s) what everybody goes through when you get fame and fortune. The word I would tell these young guys (to learn) is no. Learn how to say no. I got a big heart and I tried to help so many people, and at the end of the day, it hurt yourself. It hurt you. I just talk about my ups and downs throughout my life and try to give back, pay it forward, to some of these youth. . . . I talk to the kids, give them life lessons – not only about basketball, but life (spiritually), mentally, financially, just whatever. I think a lot of these kids nowadays with this generation need a lot more guidance. It’s got to come from outside the home because the home is not structured. I talk about that in my documentary. I come from a dysfunctional home. Drug addicts, alcoholics. Like I said, I had mentors, and nowadays some of these kids don’t have mentors outside the home – and it’s hurt (them).”
Anderson, 45, said it’s very hard for prodigies and stars to free themselves from leeches who just want a free ride.
“You got to disconnect,” Anderson said. “It’s hard to do. How could you tell a guy (no who gave you something) when you had nothing? They gave you $500, $200, $300, get you something to eat, get you some clothes, get you some sneakers. Now you make millions and he’s coming and he’s in dire need and you’re going to say no? No, you got to help that person out. So it’s the way you do it. Some guys, they come into the money and they say, ‘I’m going to give my mother, I’m going to give my father or my brother this amount of money, flat. Leave me along. Go ahead and do what you’re going to do with that. Don’t come back and ask for more.’ So it’s just the way you carry yourself with that.”
Looking at today’s NBA, Anderson said he was not surprised that Kevin Durant opted to leave Oklahoma City.
“No, not in this era,” he said. “Not in this generation. I think LeBron James started it with Bosh and Wade. Now anybody is trying to look for the easy way out. I think he took the easy way out, Kevin Durant. But it’s his option.”
Anderson felt Durant was tired of playing with Russell Westbrook.
“Me personally, I think he had enough years playing with him and said, ‘I just don’t want to play with him no more,’” Anderson said, “but he won’t come out and say it. Him and Russell went all the way to the Finals (in 2012) and to Game 7 last year with Golden State. He probably said, ‘This is as close as I can get. Let me get with a championship team.’”
Anderson, who is funding his documentary through Kickstarter, invited listeners to visit his page and learn more about the project.