Wizards’ media day wasn’t just about what they had to say. It was also about the players sporting a slightly-altered uniform.
The Wizards drew mostly rave reviews when they changed their colors back to red, white and blue and introduced uniforms featuring a stripe pattern that harkened back to the days of the more successful Bullets teams. But over the past two seasons, the team heard complaints from broadcasters and score keepers that the stripe made the jersey numbers difficult to read from a distance.
On Friday, the Wizards stepped out with uniforms that looked the same from the front, but with an adjustment on the back. The jersey still has the last name in navy blue with red numerals and gray trim, but the navy stripe is gone to make the number more legible.
Here’s the second of two takes on what they had to say Friday at Verizon Center:
OTTO PORTER JR.
On lessons from summer league: “Just the speed and the tempo if the game. I’ve been here practicing with John to adjust to his speed and Brad’s. I think as we continue to play and during practice, it’s going to continue to help.”
On being in same city in transition to the pros: “I think I’ll be comfortable since I’m already used to the facility, to the area. I’m familiar with the fans already, so I think it will definitely help my rookie year.”
GLEN RICE JR.
On comfort level after summer: “A little more easy going actually now that [camp] is actually here. It’s something you look forward to, just working hard in training camp. Not that it’s here, I’m just ready for it to come now just to show that you belong here in the NBA.”
On fitting in this season as a scorer: “I think I fit in well. They had a lot of injuries last year is probably what made them go down in scoring because the guys from what I’ve been seeing when we play, they can score. I just feel like just coming in off the bench or however coach wants to use me, I’m ready.”
On staying in the area over the summer: “I’m still comfortable with my decision. No regrets. I did what I wanted to, working out, getting better on the double-team, on my face-up game, on my shape, on everything. Right now I’m good, and I’m ready to go.”
On his play last season: “That was pretty good, but I wasn’t satisfied because I was not really ready. That was my first season when everyone, when the team expected something from me. It was just for me something to prepare me for the season. Now I’m prepared and I have more maturity about it.”
On being hurt to start the season: “I just wanted to be able to go out on the court and contribute with my team, at least go through training camp to see what people’s worked on, see their capabilities moving into this season. It just sucks because I’ve been so bored the past two weeks.”
On the biggest challenge coming back from injury: “It’s a foot injury, so you have to be real careful with those. I’ve got make sure mentally I’m right and physically I’m right because I do have a pin in my foot. I don’t want risk my future just on coming back a couple weeks too early. I’m going to work my butt off, and when I feel ready and when doctors feel that I’m really ready, I’m going to be out there sometime soon.”
On his role with the Wizards after starting 36 games last season: “My role is still to be the same and just be there for whatever coach wants me to do, come off the bench. If the guys, God forbid, get injured be there to start if he needs me to do, but just be the consummate professional. The consummate team guy. The guy that does all the little things and helps the team win.”
On being confused for Otto Porter: “At least 10 times already, people have said, ‘Hey, Otto. Especially the little kids. ‘Hey, Otto!’ I politely say, ‘I’m not Otto Porter. My name is Garrett Temple.’ But he’s a great guy. Otto is a nice guy, quiet guy. And we have similarities. We’re both slim. He’s a bit taller than me. We’re both fair skinned and they think we look alike. I don’t see it.”
On what led to his inspired play in Europe: “I just forget all about last season and try to focus on my work and enjoy basketball. I had a long summer before Eurobasket. I just enjoyed playing there and finally I enjoyed playing basketball again…I can’t tell that I didn’t have fun here. It was a couple of times, it was pretty fun to play here. But I didn’t have much chance to play, but I think Eurobasket will help me personally to stay and I’m happy to have this chance.”
On if he can have similar production in the NBA: “I think so. It’s not easy to play over there. There are a lot of good teams. We played against Spain and Marc Gasol. It was a great experience to play against him and I think it can translate to the NBA.”
On his chances at being an all-star next season: “I feel like if I’m winning games and I have my team in the playoffs and I’m doing okay, leading my team, I feel I have a great shot at that. But if you’re not winning. It’s very rare if your team’s not in the playoff race or one of the top teams. It happened last year for two guys [Kyrie Irving and Jrue Holiday], but it happened because other guys were injured. But those guys were deserving.”
On the difference between this team and others since he arrived in 2010: “I think talent wise, my first year or two, we had talent. I just don’t think we meshed together and played as a team. We didn’t have concepts of wanting to do it defensively. I think we all just was individual one on one players. Last year and this year team is kind of the same. We just added more pieces that can help us and I feel like we’re very talented, but it all depends on what we do when we step out on those lines.”
On pressure to make playoffs: “The city’s asking for it. The city needs it, but we can’t worry about everything else that’s going on outside of us and outside of what we want to do and what we want to accomplish, so I think us coming in here knowing the fact that we have some work to do, knowing that it’s not going to be given, knowing that every second that we’re on the court we need to be absorbing as much information so that we can make that push, understanding that we have to take it one practice at a time, one game at a time. We’re not just going to go in and stamp our name on the playoffs because that’s not the way it’s done. It’s done by hard work, not only on the court but in the video room, how you’re taking care of your body. The mental part of this game is crucial.”
On shaving his beard: “Everything is gone. I was just getting a little rugged. My wife was getting tired of that look. And quite frankly, it was weird waking up in the morning and my beard was facing up. Literally stuck up. I just had to cut it off. There was a burial, along with my Moroccan oil that it kept is so finely nourished. I’m not going to bring it back. It’s dead and gone, but it’s a chapter of my life that’s gone.”
Staff Writer Gene Wang contributed to his report.