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February 19, 2022

Monty Williams

Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Media Day Press Conference

MONTY WILLIAMS: Just going to follow their lead. I talked to Chris about it this morning, like different experiences that he's had, like what's worked well, just to get the guys some shots, give them a few environments and have them just make plays.

I'm honored and grateful to be here, and at the same time you want to win. I talked to the guys about that in the locker room. I know they want to. I think the reason why we want to win is you're competitive, but to be a part of this opportunity to partner with LeBron and raise money for the academy, the leadership platforms that he's developed for generations, if you can be a part of something like that, it's pretty cool.

Q. (Question about Chris Paul and his status.)

MONTY WILLIAMS: I won't talk about that today, and I'll let Chris handle all that. But we'll see.

Q. What was it like working with Chris Paul shooting a commercial?

MONTY WILLIAMS: I mean, it was certainly out of my wheelhouse to be in a commercial. I don't think I've ever done anything of that magnitude before, and when he first called and asked me about it, I was like, you know, almost like -- I was on the phone but almost looking behind me to ask if he was talking to somebody else. He said, Coach, what do you think about it? I was like, okay. And then when I said okay, I was like, hold on, man, that's not something I've done; know what I mean?

So I called my mentor, Pastor Bill, and I asked him about it, and I was like, PB, Chris asked me about being in a State Farm commercial, and he said, You should do it. I was like, Really? He's like, Yeah, you should do it, just because it could be fun, and it's Chris. That was the main reason why I did it, because it was Chris.

So it was a fun process. I mean, they had Samuel, Denzel, Don Cheadle, Clint Eastwood, Will Smith, and then as they got down to like the top 10. I was at 10, so they asked me to be a part of it. They understood the acting acumen that I brought to the table and said, hey, man, you're the guy. (Laughs).

Q. (No microphone).

MONTY WILLIAMS: Fans in Brazil? First of all, we're grateful to have fans anywhere outside of the Valley, but to all of our fans in Brazil, we hope that the style of basketball that we play keeps you excited, makes you proud, and we appreciate the fans there.

I spent time there with the Olympic team, and the fans, the sports fans in Brazil are passionate, and we're so grateful to have them root for us.

Q. (On his experience in Brazil.)

MONTY WILLIAMS: Well, I was on the boat for the most part. I did get a chance to go up to the statue of Jesus Christ at the top of the mountain. That was a really cool experience. As we were traveling up the mountain on the tram, you could hear the monkeys in the trees. That was my first time being around monkeys outside of a zoo, so that was pretty cool. And then to get up there and see how big that statue was, it was a cool moment for me. Such a beautiful country, the beaches and the people. I had a good time seeing it from the bus, but I didn't get a chance to enjoy it much.

Q. (Question about Oscar Schmidt.)

MONTY WILLIAMS: Yeah, Oscar and his family are my family. We live two houses down from each other. My wife used to show his wife around town because her English wasn't great, and we just became really good friends.

I didn't realize it was Oscar Schmidt until I met him, and I was like, holy smokes, this is Oscar Schmidt. He was in his 40s at the time. He was still working out every day, and his arm was so big and hard from the amount of times that he shot the ball.

Our families just became close, and to this day, they're just people that support me and encourage me. I text with them just about every other week. I was so grateful to meet him. It was pretty funny, in my neighborhood I had Grant Hill that lived down the street and Oscar lived next to me. So I still wasn't the best basketball player in my neighborhood. I thought that was pretty cool.

He's probably the all-time leading scorer in basketball history, and he lived two houses down from me, and then he and I became really good friends.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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