America's favorite little brother, Mario Chalmers, of the newly crowned champion Miami Heat stopped by SI Kids so we could get the inside scoop on the team's title run. Miami's Big Three may rag on him on the court from time to time, but he came up big in the Finals, helping the team beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games. Chalmers spoke with us about winning NBA and NCAA championships, his role on the team, how the Heat changed from last season to this one and the addition of Ray Allen.
SI Kids: The media and fans really scrutinized the Heat since LeBron and Bosh joined, do you guys try to block that out?
Mario Chalmers: Last year it was something we thought about, but this year all we thought about was Dallas, Game 6, and them walking off our home court knowing that we lost the championship.
SIK: How do you avoid seeing all the stuff written and said about you guys?
MC: During the playoffs this year I didn’t watch Sportscenter at all. Not one day. That was an easy way to stay away from it.
SIK: Was that different from last year?
MC: A lot different from last year. We always watched Sportscenter and listened to what people were saying about us.
SIK: So you could prove them wrong?
Yeah, trying to prove them wrong and trying to show them up instead of just playing for ourselves.
SIK: Was that a team decision to cut off the outside noise?
MC: It was kind of a team decision, but it was an individual decision too. One person started tuning it out and then another person did and it spread to others.
SIK: Now you’ve got an NBA title to add to your NCAA championship with Kansas, what was the difference in winning those two?
MC: I think the only difference is that you won on the highest level. Growing up as a kid I wanted to be in the NBA and win a championship.
SIK: Was one more satisfying?
MC: It had to be college. I was more of a key player in that.
SIK: In the NCAA title game you hit that amazing shot against Memphis to force OT, are you not welcome in Memphis anymore?
MC: We didn’t play in Memphis this year. In the last few years I always get booed there. We’ll see what happens next year.
SIK: In Game 4 of the Finals you came through for the team, scoring 25 points and making key free throws after LeBron went out with leg cramps, what were you thinking during that game?
MC: I felt that was my opportunity to step up. As a player you always want to make an impact. I tried to make the most of it.
SIK: You’re getting to be known for your play in those big moments.
MC: That's what I'm trying to hang my hat on. I know with those three guys I’m not going to get the star spotlight, so I just try to be a clutch player.
SIK: When you guys got into the Finals, we saw LeBron change his game, playing out of the post much more and distributing the ball from there. Was that about match-ups or will we see a lot more of that?
MC: I think it was a bit of both. Coach Spo was looking for a way to open up the offense and get more players involved and that was one way to do it. LeBron in the post opens up a lot of people on our team. We’ll probably switch it up, back and forth.
SIK: With the title in hand, will the motivation to train this summer be different than last?
MC: I’d say it’s the same. Last year we said we were working out to get a championship. This year we’re working out to get another championship.
SIK: Because of the lockout last summer, the regular season had fewer games. Was the shortened schedule more challenging or did you have more rest going into the playoffs?
MC: It was a mixed feeling. We had those nights when you got out there feeling great, then you had games where you were just playing five hours ago and now we’re back at it again. But, really, it just feels good to be out there playing basketball.
SIK: Did your older teammates feel the same way?
SIK: Game on the line, last shot, who do you want taking it?
MC: I’ve seen him do it so many times.
SIK: Have you had the chance to go back home to Alaska since you won the title?
MC: Not yet, but I’ve got some text messages from friends back there asking me to bring the trophy with me.
SIK: Alaska is known more for hockey than basketball, how’d you get started in the game?
MC: Basketball has always been in my family. Everyone played from my grandma to my grandpa, to my mom to my dad and my sister. It’s a family game for us, so that’s how I picked it up.
SIK: Are you excited about Ray Allen joining the team? What are your impressions of him?
MC: I know Ray Allen personally. My mom and his mom are really good friends. My dad and his mom were in the military together in North Carolina, so I’ve known him for a long time. It’ll be like having another friend on the team, so it’ll be great to have him there and to have another shooter.
SIK: Will we see your two moms in the stands together?
MC: Yeah, [laughs] they’ll both have on those jerseys, you know, the ones with the bedazzles on them.