Nazr Mohammed has a ring. In 2005, he played for the San Antonio Spurs, winning an NBA title in seven games over Detroit. At practice Sunday, Mohammed talked about returning to the finals, going head-to-head with Miami and what it's like to be a role player waiting for the chance to come through with a critical play.
What's it like to be back in the NBA Finals?
It's a great feeling. You go through so many seasons of not getting here and you didn't have a chance to get here, so to actually get back and have an opportunity to get another championship, it's something that you cherish and you don't want to waste the opportunity.
Do you appreciate it more this time around?
Even at an early age, I understood how hard it was to get here and how important it is just as far as having a career to get here and have a chance to win.
What do you remember most about playing in the finals in 2005?
Just how tough it was to win it. We won our first two games at home I think, but they were tough games against Detroit. They beat us up. We went to their place, they blew us out two games at their place. The third game, they were blowing us out and we just made a heck of a comeback and then Rob (Horry) hit some big shots and made some big plays down there at the end and we came out on top. It's just so hard playing a team who knows you, you know them and everyone knows the gravity of the situation.
How do you look at this series against Miami?
I don't know how they look at it, I can't answer for them. We've learned last year losing to Dallas to this year, beating some pretty good teams, that it takes the team. It's going to take a team effort. It's not our star vs. their star. It's not our big three vs. their big three. In order to win games, you've got to have performances, like Thabo (Sefolosha) had an unbelievable performance in Game 3. Serge (Ibaka) and Kendrick (Perkins) had unbelievable performances in Game 4. We just understand that it's going to take a team and you can't just sit back and wait back for our superstars to win the game for us. They're going to do their job, score when they need to, they're going to draw a lot of attention. But there's a lot of attention and detail on the coaches' end. They're going to take away stuff, so you've got to be ready to go to your second option and run your offense and play tough defense.
What's it like as a role player to wait for that moment when you need to make a big play?
It's a situation where you know the work that you've put in. You just believe in the work you've put in and believe in your abilities. You listen to the game plan, so you know it. You know what they're going to do, they know what we're going to do, you just as a role player, have to believe in your abilities to make the right play.