VIDEO: Muhammad on Scrutiny

Shabazz Muhammad talks about the controversy surrounding his reaction to Larry Drew's game winning shot and the scrutiny of being in Los Angeles...

Shabazz Muhammad talks about playing in Los Angeles:


SM: like I said, when we played Washington, it was just overreacting. I congratulated Larry [Drew II]. I loved him to make that shot. I'll always be an option, but yeah… when you're big-time… when you're a big player and you're in the limelight all the time, you have to expect that. So that's something that comes with it.

Q: a guy like Kyle [Anderson] was #2 right behind you. He seems to kind of avoid all this stuff. Is that really the big difference between #1 and #2? Or do you think it finds you?

SM: I don't think it's a big difference. Kyle's a really smart player. I don't think it's really a big difference at all.

Q: is this what you signed up for? To be in LA? Did you know this was going to kind of happen?

SM: yeah, I knew this was going to happen. We're in LA. We're in Hollywood. There's a lot of stuff that goes on. Like I said, you just have to be smart because everybody's watching.

Q: was that the first time you can remember where maybe your celebrity has kind of caught up to you in that way? Was it before you got here? Is there anything in high school that you can remember where it was blown out of proportion in the same kind of way?

SM: no, I think in college, it's way more. Everybody's starting to watch you and now people are really going to watch me nationally now as a college player so I think it's really hard to really do what you really want to do. So you just have to abide by the rules and do that.

Q: what are the benefits of kind of being like a media star here in LA versus Lexington?

SM: you have a chance to get your name out. There's a lot of people watching. A lot of people seeing you. It's always good just to have a good name and image to carry on.

Q: does it take a special kind of player to be able handle this kind of media attention?

SM: yeah, I think it is. It's pretty hard. You have to know how to talk to the media and stuff like that. I really enjoy it. I like doing it. Like I said, it's something that you just have to go by since you're in LA, and it's a big media market city.

Q: obviously, you're not in the NBA yet, but do you kind of feel like you've been treated like a professional player in that sense? That you are always under the microscope kind of like the same way that Kobe [Bryant] or any of those other LA stars would be?

SM: yeah, I mean, I think so. The paper… we're always in the paper and stuff like that. Like I said, some things are good and bad. You just have to continue to stay focused and stay humble. Which I try to do all the time. It's something I'm really, really getting used to. Just keep trying to play as hard as I can and it'll work out.

Q: do you worry about your image after something like what happened against Washington? When people are saying, "oh, he didn't celebrate. He must be a bad teammate."

SM: no. I don't worry about image. Like I said, I know I'm a good teammate for my team. Everybody likes each other. So like I said, I don't think it hurts it.

Q: how surprised were you to see your actions being highlighted on [ESPN] SportsCenter?

SM: yeah, I was pretty surprised, actually. But, like I said, it's LA so that's something you're going to have to abide by.

Q: going through this for nearly a year, what would be your advice to future high major recruits coming out here to LA?

SM: yeah, just be smart. Like I said, in LA, anything you do, they're watching. So you just have to be smart and things like that. be smart.

Q: who's "they"? You said, "they're watching".

SM: just people in general are watching. Everybody's got eyes. The limelight.

Q: you've been stopped by TMZ yet? I know Tony [Parker] did one time.

SM: I'm not sure. I don't know.

Q: how difficult is it to balance… I know you're trying to impress NBA scouts but you're also trying to win games here at UCLA. How do you balance those 2 things?

SM: yeah, I'm trying to win games. If you win games, the NBA scouts will come. Right now, we're really trying to win. We have one of the biggest games of the year right now. We're tied for first. Cal and Stanford. Need to win these games.

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