July 16, 2021
Q. You mentioned a couple times this series you're just a kid from Arkansas, you weren't supposed to be here. I know Corliss Williamson coached you when you were a young kid. What did he mean for your development as a young guy?
BOBBY PORTIS: He meant the world to me. Just being able to go it an NBA player's house and see all the things they have, all the awards he won in college, I wanted to be just like him. I wanted to go to Arkansas. I wanted to win Player of the Year. I wanted to get drafted to the NBA.
I wanted all those things for my family, as well. I think it was more motivational for me, just being around and being able to see all the things that he worked so hard for. I see what hard work can do for a person, and I just kind of took it and ran with it. It was a blessing for me, man, for sure.
Q. Could you kind of point to him as a guy that he made it to the NBA so I could, too?
BOBBY PORTIS: Yeah, for sure. Coming from where I come from, man, it's like every four or five years like we have a pro. Nowadays it's gotten better with social media and guys have gotten more opportunity to get noticed and things like that. But, when I was coming up, social media just started like taking off a little bit around then, and nowadays guys have more opportunity.
He was a big part of it. One of his guys, Marcus McCray and Vincent Mays, who was the assistant coaches on my AAU teams growing up, those guys kind of took the wings from him once he moved on to UCA [University of Central Arkansas] and went to college. I was really, really sad when he said he wasn't going to coach us in AAU anymore, he was going to go to college. That kind of really stung a little bit.
Q. Are you guys still in contact?
BOBBY PORTIS: Yeah, for sure. He's like a big bro to me, man. He's like a guy that's always been there for me, no matter what, through the highs, through the lows, just about life in general.
Basketball is just a short part of my life. Hopefully I want to play another decade, so after that I'll still have a long life to live and we'll still be friends and talk about more than just basketball.
Q. What do you think is the biggest thing he taught you growing up?
BOBBY PORTIS: He just taught me I think the biggest thing in basketball he taught me is to run the floor hard. That's one thing that I wasn't really skilled and talented as a kid. I just always had a motor and played as hard as I could.
Like one of the things he always taught me, just to sprint the court hard and get offensive rebounds and things like that. That's what he taught me on the court. Off the court always told me to let things come to you. Sometimes in life you have to wait around your turn. You can't -- just got to keep working hard as you can, and sometimes it takes guys longer to get to where they want to get to.
He just always taught me just to stay down and be humble in everything I do.
Q. You being the nonstop energy guy, how do you bring some of that Fiserv feeling to an unwelcoming Phoenix Game 5?
BOBBY PORTIS: Just going out there, just playing my minutes with force, doing all the little things, offensive rebounds, get some extra possessions for us, talking on defense, trying to be as active as I can in my role, knowing that the minutes I play, I have to play those minutes with force.
It's fun playing this game with these guys. Obviously, it's a big game for us in Game 5. It's a pivotal game for us. But I think we're up for the challenge, man. It's going to be a hostile environment for sure, but I can't wait for it.
Q. Like you said, this is an important game. You're not going to be able to win this thing without stealing at least one game in Phoenix.
I wanted to ask you real specifically how more locked in are you guys maybe off the court? And here's an example. When Jae Crowder came back here to Milwaukee, he knows Milwaukee from playing here, he said that he and the guys weren't even going to eat out at restaurants. They were worried about food poisoning. Not worried, but they were going to be really precautious. Are you guys doing anything extra that's really different for the Finals to stay locked in?
BOBBY PORTIS: Yeah, man, all the guys are just locked in their rooms. Obviously as a team we watch a lot of film together. Coach Bud and his staff does a great job of just breaking things down for us and simplifying things to make it easier for us on the court, but off the court we're just trying to stay as locked in as possible, stay in our rooms.
I never even thought about food poisoning. I ain't going to lie. The only thing -- I ain't thought about that. It's some Michael Jordan stuff. I ain't even thought about that. But it's fun, man. Playing this game, being able to be in a three-game series now on the biggest stage in basketball is just a joy, man, to go out there and play this beautiful game.
Q. The 20 minutes you were on the court in the last game, you played most of them in a small lineup. What is the biggest benefit the team gets when you played without a natural center?
BOBBY PORTIS: You know, we just do a ton of switching and things like that, just staying inside, talking on defense a lot. We have to rebound the basketball at a high level then when Brook is not in the game and things like that. But just spacing the floor, opening up some driving lanes for Giannis and things like that, and just playing with confidence and playing with swag.
It's two teams left in the league now playing for an NBA championship on the biggest stage. It doesn't get any better than that.
I think Coach Bud does a great job of making the game easier for us and just simplifying it, and that's why we've had a ton of success this postseason.
Q. So far there's been a lot of adjustments in this series, but at this point what do you feel is the biggest challenge playing against the Suns?
BOBBY PORTIS: They're a great home basketball team, man. They really feed off the crowd. I think anybody is a great home team, man, for sure. It's always tough winning on the road in this league. It's tough winning, period. But them especially, they really, really feed off the crowd. They get going. All their supporting cast play really, really well at home.
You seen the game where Bridges and Cam Payne and Jae Crowder and all those guys had big games here Game 1 and 2 and things like that. So trying to limit the supporting cast as much as we can. Obviously, it's going to be a load, it's going to be a hostile environment, but that's what we play this game for. That's why we work so hard in the off season, during the season. That's why we sacrifice so much to be in this position, to hoist the Larry O'Brien Trophy.
I think everybody is locked in, and I think when Saturday, tomorrow, comes, I think everybody will be ready to roll.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports