Home / Inside the League - Exclusive Interviews / Inside The League (6): A TLN Exclusive Interview With Future Hall Of Famer Terry Cummings
Inside The League (6): A TLN Exclusive Interview With Future Hall Of Famer Terry Cummings

Inside The League (6): A TLN Exclusive Interview With Future Hall Of Famer Terry Cummings

When you’re trying to think of a list of the greatest 100 NBA players in history, the name Terry Cummings is bound to come up. He was one of the best two-way players of all time, was a multiple time all-star, and lasted 18 years in the league in total. It is almost a certainty that he will make it into the Hall of Fame, but he’s not concerned about that. He’s busy with a lot of other things in his life, but he made time to have an interview with me.

Brian Rzeppa (BR): Since you’re from Chicago, was it an easy choice to go to DePaul?

Terry Cummings (TC): In the end it was because I felt that it was the place I belonged. I was being recruited by every major college, and I had only visited Iowa, and I just figured that DePaul was the best choice for me. They couldn’t even recruit me because my coach wouldn’t let them. So I basically recruited myself to them.

BR: When you were selected with the 2nd pick by the Clippers, were you expecting it?

TC: By the time I reached the end of my junior year, I knew I was one of the top 3 picks of the draft. So, me, Dominique {Wilkins} and James Worthy knew that we were going to go 1, 2, 3.

BRAfter only a couple years in the league, you were traded to the Bucks. What were your thoughts after hearing of this news?

TC: I actually asked to be traded, and I talked to the owner and told him where I wanted to go. I had a dream about going to Bucks, and that’s how I decided to go there.

BRDo you have any regrets from your playing career?

TC: I used to think one of my regrets was that I didn’t win a championship. But I had a very successful career with, or without it. I helped young men grow up and mature. I never let it be the measure of me as a man. You want to win a championship, but there’s other variables.

BRDo you have a favorite team that you played for?

TC: My favorite years were in San Antonio and Milwaukee. Those were the years where I was in my heyday. A lot of my fans and friends are there. I loved playing in New York as well, because that place drives you, it’s the mecca. If you want to be somebody, you have to be able to play there. In Golden State, I loved it there because they got all of me. They brought me in for creative meetings.

BRYou played in the NBA for 18 years, how did you manage that kind of longevity?

TC: There were three main ingredients. One, my belief in God. It was just part of my core values. Two, I always took care of my body. I wasn’t a nightclub guy. I didn’t drink, I didn’t party, I didn’t smoke. I would take care of my body after practice. Three, vision. I realized what I wanted to do with my life, and I knew that I didn’t want to be involved in basketball my whole career, so I made the best of it while I was there.

BRYou are often talked about as a player that could get into the Hall of Fame any year now, what would a place in the Hall of Fame mean to you?

TC: I think in the end, the Hall of Fame is just a great way of saying that your peers respect your abilities and respect you as a man, as a ballplayer, and as a contributor to the game. To me, that would be my championship, because its your peers saying that you deserve it.

BRThroughout your career, you played with some of the greatest players of all time. Out of all the teams you played with, who do you think was the most talented of your teammates?

TC: Out of all the guys I played with, I don’t know, that’s a good question because I played with some great guys. I came into the league with Bill Walton, Lionel Hollins was my first point guard. I mentored David Robinson. I played with Allen Iverson and Patrick Ewing. Sidney Moncrief and Sean Elliot are others. By far, the most talented person I ever played against was Michael Jordan. When people say that he’s the greatest, I just say, well he had to play against the best to get that way.

BRIf you had to choose an all-time starting 5 out of any players (past and present), who would it be?

TC:

PG: Mo Cheeks, He just knows how to distribute the ball and run a team. Hes a true point guard. He can score if he wanted to or need to, but his main concentration was ball distribution.

SG: Michael Jordan

SF: Charles Barkley

PF: Tim Duncan

C: Hakeem Olajuwan. I like him on both ends of the floor.

I would say this team is well balanced, and it needs a point guard like cheeks to be able to run the team.

BRDo you still watch the NBA today?

TC: I love the playoffs. These are two of my favorite teams (San Antonio and Miami).

BRIn 2007, you released an album titled “T.C. Finally”, what inspired you to do that?

TC: I’ve always loved music. It’s apart of my balance. I don’t even play basketball right now, I do other things to stay in shape. They’re kind of intertwined.

BROutside of music, what do you do now?

TC: I’m a pastor at a church here in Atlanta. Ive been in the ministry for 36 years this year.

BRDo you have any advice for aspiring NBA players?

TC: It is an exceptional way to dream. It is one of the greatest things on earth that you can do. I would also hesistantly, but truthfully tell people that they need to go in with both eyes open. There’s basketball and there’s business. There’s the good, the bad, and the ugly.

He is unlike most players in the fact that he doesn’t really miss playing basketball, and personally, I think that is great. He has moved even closer to God, as he mentioned in one of the questions, and he has found a new career in music. If you are an R&B fan, or just looking for something new to listen to, head over to his website. He is on Twitter as well, so you can head over there for all of the latest news on his music, and well as a ton of inspirational quotes.

I’m pulling for Terry Cummings to get in the Hall of Fame this year, and you should be, too.

This is the sixth part of my weekly series, so stay tuned for more interviews from players, coaches, and general managers!

Thanks for reading.

Before you go, check out one of Terry Cummings’ great games of his career:

About Brian Rzeppa

4 comments

  1. Asmir Pekmic

    Another great inteview! :D I enjoyed reading it, good job!

    And I hope that he will get into the Hall of Fame too. Too bad he never won a ring as a player, but as he said, his career was still successful, even without it.

  2. I remember him from his playing days, he was one of my favorite players. I was delighted when my team, the Warriors, got him, even tho he wasn’t the player he used to be.
    It is so refreshing to hear someone who understands that while titles are great, the positive impact and influence someone can have with their teammates and in their community is greater

    • He was incredible.

      And I agree, it’s nice to see someone who cares more about using their status as a professional athlete to improve the community, rather than how many rings they did or didn’t get.

      Thanks for the read.

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