WHAT IT FEELS LIKE . . . to start your NBA career at Madison Square Garden

Michael Beasley Tells What It Feels Like to Make His NBA Debut at Madison Square Garden

Miami Heat forward Michael Beasley
Miami Heat forward Michael Beasley (By Nathaniel S. Butler -- Nbae Via Getty Images)
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Monday, November 3, 2008

Washington area native Michael Beasley, the 19-year-old No. 2 pick of the NBA draft, made his debut on Wednesday against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. He scored on his first shot, an impressive spin and underhand layup, but it was downhill from there. He finished with nine points on 4-of-14 shooting, with four rebounds and three turnovers in the Heat's 120-115 loss.

I was nervous. Wow. I heard so many stories [about Madison Square Garden]. . . . I had so many people telling me, 'You got to do this, you got to do that. You got to get 50, you got to score 85 points.' I'm like 'Whoa! Whoa! This is my first game!' But to be in the Mecca of basketball, the best basketball arena in a world, my nerves [were] higher than any time in my life.

When I walked on the court for the first time, I was thinking about getting a win. The nervousness, the excitement, I left it in the locker room. . . . I thought it would be a good night when I made that first shot, but I didn't hit the next one or the next one. And it kind of died down. I didn't want to miss another shot. I was kind of skeptical of my jump shot. It was the first time in a while that I lost my confidence. I had a bad game. It was an F. And we lost on top of that.

In college, my first game I had [32] points and 24 rebounds. . . . Here in the NBA, point guards can grab 10 rebounds. The NBA is a whole 'nother level. Not just basketball, but life. It's nothing bad about it, but it's a little harder than I thought. I don't want to sell myself short. I really don't see a point in just trying to be the best young guy, the best rookie. I want to be the best, period.

If you're taking the floor to be second best there is no point in playing. I feel as though, I'm selling myself short being rookie of the year. I want to be an all-star my first year. I want to be MVP. I want to do the do the impossible. I want to be the impossible.

-- Interview by Michael Lee

© 2008 The Washington Post Company