Mark Aguirre: So many things going on that basketball becomes more of a job than a game

mark-aguirre-pistonsMark Aguirre was one of the most productive NBA players of his era. He averaged 18.7 ppg as a rookie for Dallas Mavericks. For the next 6 seasons he never averaged below 22.6 ppg in a season, reaching career-high average of 29.5 ppg during the 1983-84 season.

Aguirre was a 3-time NBA All-Star (with Mavericks), and won 2 NBA championships with the Detroit Pistons (1989, 1990).

He holds career averages of 20.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg and 3.1 apg in 30.0 mpg. Aguirre appeared in total of 923 NBA games, starting in 639.

He currently is the President of Basketball for Champions Basketball League (CBL).

Below is the interview Aguirre gave to CBL:

Growing up, when did you know you were exceptional at the game?

Looking at how Chicago basketball was put together, back in my day – ancient as you would imagine – there weren’t a lot of rules. As a high school player I got to play against professionals. I was able to measure up against the pros as a sophomore in high school. Around my sophomore year I started saying to myself, you know what I can really do this.

You were the number one overall pick back in the 1981 NBA draft. When you were drafted to the Mavs you turned them into playoff contenders right out of the gate. At what point did you have your eyes set on winning a championship. At what point did you realize a championship was a real possibility for you?

I have to look at it from a different point of view, playing every day against the Magic Johnsons’ and Larry Birds’ of the world I first had to find out if I could compete with that level. Once I found out I could, I thought there was an opportunity to win a championship. With the right players and the right things, I had my eyes set on that from day one. I didn’t come into the league to survive, I just don’t think like that, I came to win! I came to win it all! I don’t know any other way to think. I never thought any other way, I always felt my team should beat your team.

You won two championships with the Pistons back in 1989 and 1990. Between those two series, who was the toughest player you went up against in either series?

That’s a difficult question, from a one-on-one stand point me matching up against the guy guarding me I didn’t have a tough time. I got double teamed all the time. But from an individual standpoint I never had a tough time. I was never guarded by a small forward it was always power forwards that were guarding me.

You were able to mismatch against them all the time.

Yea, I wish they would have put a small forward on me, but that was never going to happen. I always felt I was dominating at my spot because they never would’ve thought on putting their small forwards on me. Don’t get me wrong the NBA is tough, it’s a war every night. It was tough, but individually I didn’t have any problems.

You said every night in the NBA is like a war. How did it feel to at the end of the season not only once, but twice be able to slide a Championship ring on your finger?

You get satisfied for about a week, and then you get back to work. Between training and then all the players get drafted you’re getting to work – trying to repeat. If you’re not playing the game to win Championships, then sure you get months off. But if you’re playing to win titles you get maybe two weeks of satisfaction before you’re back to training and getting ready for the grind of the next season.

You had a very decorated career, averaging 20 points per game, you won 2 NBA Championships, were a three time All-Star, among a litany of collegiate achievements. What is your favorite moment from your career?

My favorite moment would probably be between high school and college. The NBA was great, to win an NBA title is a rare thing but there are so many things going on that basketball becomes more of a job than a game. When you’re in high school you’re totally playing for the love of the game. High school and college basketball is as pure as it gets. I am one of the guys that loves just pure basketball.

So would you say your love of the game started to fade later at the end of your career?

No, I just had to manage it differently The love was there, it never left, I don’t think it will ever leave.


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