Pacers All-Star Victor Oladipo was able to return to action earlier this year after undergoing surgery for a torn quad last January, which ended his 2018/19 season and forced a late start to the currently-suspended campaign.
All told, over an 18-month period, Oladipo has had to abruptly stop playing basketball twice. As the NBA weighs the possibility of continuing the season, Oladipo tells Michael Lee of The Athletic he wants to establish himself as one of the greats.
After returning in January, Oladipo appeared in 13 games (10 starts) before the coronavirus pandemic shuttered play. Oladipo admitted that he “would be lying” if he said he was playing above 80% this season.
Ahead of free agency this summer, the 28-year-old discussed his personal goals moving forward, his intended legacy and much more.
Check out the highlights below:
On hiss ultimate career goal::
“At the end of the day, I wanted my name to be mentioned with one of the greats. So, when this quad injury happened, my job is not over. My legacy isn’t finished. This knee is a little bump in the road, I guess you would say. But someone once told me a long time ago, ‘If the road you’re on is easy, then you’re on the wrong road.’ So I hate calling it a ‘bump in a road.’”
On the feeling he needs to constantly prove himself:
“Me, personally, I feel they don’t really respect me. And that’s fine. I get it. It was only one year or a year and a few months, or whatever the case may be. And I still got a lot to prove. I want the whole world to remember my name. That’s why I do what I do. And that’s why I’m going to come back stronger than ever because I still have some unfinished business. And I still got a lot of things that I need to accomplish and want to accomplish — so my name can ring bells.”
On understanding the Pacers culture:
“The money is great, obviously, and the lifestyle is cool, but coming from where I come from, if they ain’t talking about you as one of the best, it’s no point in you even playing. That’s what I got from PG County. I want to be a legend, period, when it comes to this game. That’s why I work as hard as I do. I remember when no one knew who I was, and that’s what keeps me going every day. That makes me work harder every day. That’s why it’s so hard to take a break because it’s so many things I need to do.”