Jennings talks NBA lockout, pick-up games, internship, more
Brandon Jennings interned at Under Armour, his shoe sponsor, during the lockout
He wants fans to know that players aren't "choosing to be locked out"
Jennings also wants fans to know that no one has played more than him
Few players have been as active as Milwaukee guard Brandon Jennings during the NBA lockout. The Compton, Calif., native has been one of the league's most accessible personalities, from his Twitter account to his participation in various streetball showcases.
SI.com caught up with Jennings during Under Armour's recent "Are You From Here?" basketball event in New York City to gauge his thoughts on labor negotiations, fan interest and more.
SI.com: Be honest, how sick are you of the lockout?
Jennings: All the ball players are pretty upset. For me, I think I just have to keep grinding, keep staying positive and don't get in trouble. That's the main thing. Keep being creative and cool, and keep my internship opportunities.
SI.com: You interned at Under Armour, much like Blake Griffin did at College Humor. What do you think of the NBA star turned intern trend?
Jennings: I think it's a great thing, the fact that now guys can do something else. They're learning the business side of other things. Now I know how hard it is to make a shoe, how hard it is to make sure we have the right apparel. I have total respect for everybody in the office.
SI.com: What were you doing last year at this time?
Jennings: Oh man, I was traveling. Getting ready for the regular season. I know we always start [games] on the 29th or the 30th, so I'd be on the road right now getting ready.
SI.com: What's the biggest issue holding up negotiations between the players and owners?
Jennings: I think it's just everything. The fact that a lot of owners think that they can't compete with other big markets. With the small markets losing a lot of players to the big markets, that's just the main thing.
SI.com: How do you feel about the union's suggestion to eliminate the salary cap?
Jennings: I don't like to get into too many lockout questions. Whenever I see something about the owners and the players' association, that they didn't close the gap or anything, that's all I've been noticing. Other than that, I don't get too much into it.
SI.com: Fair enough. But what kind of impact do you think the lockout will ultimately have on fans?
Jennings: One thing we want the fans to know is that it's not us who are choosing to be locked out. We don't want to be locked out, of course. If it were up to us, we'd be in the gym working out right now. But I think it's gonna be hard to get the fans back. The fact that we lost so many games early, we already canceled the preseason, we already canceled two weeks of the season, hopefully the fans will still come out to watch us play.
SI.com: You and Kevin Durant, among others, headlined the streetball circuit this summer. How do you think that helped keep fans engaged?
Jennings: I think it was a great thing. Not just myself and Kevin, but a lot of NBA players playing. Fans don't really get to see us up that close. The fact that you could go to a Pro-Am, or go to a park and there's your favorite player playing -- that's kind of amazing.
SI.com: What was your favorite place to play?
Jennings: I would have to say my park, Rowley Park [outside Los Angeles], where I grew up. I also played at Westchester Park (also in L.A.), 24-Hour Fitnesses -- I'll just go anywhere and play.
SI.com: As the lockout wears on, is there anything else you want fans to know?
Jennings: At the end of the day, I don't think anybody plays more basketball than me. Everybody played at Pro-Ams and things like that. But I've been playing at parks, just random places everywhere.
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