Q&A: Mario Chalmers on playing with superstars, being yelled at and more


The Heat point guard is often the forgotten man in the team's hierarchy, but he's an essential part of its success. We caught up with him prior to Tuesday's game in Toronto.

When the Miami Heat roll into your city, it's like an extra-classy circus coming through. The cotton candy is replaced with plates of postgame pasta and the drab, frills-free visitor's locker room crammed with media members serves as the clown car.

There are bodies, so many bodies, all trying to occupy the same three-foot radius around LeBron James' locker before and after the game. There are recorders and phones and cameras all flashing and beeping and recording, just in case The Chosen One chooses to say something we're not expecting.

When James finishes talking, in a scrum where he does not say anything unexpected, the dog and pony show begins all over again approximately six feet to the left, where Dwyane Wade's locker is.

More Heat coverage: Hot Hot Hoops

This is how things go in Heatland. Add in Jesus Shuttlesworth, Mr. I-could-be-president-of-the-universe Shane Battier, Super Cool Beas, Greg Oden and a Norris Cole's high-top fade, and it's no wonder that it takes a few glances around the room to find Mario Chalmers' locker.

This is par for the course for the 27-year-old Chalmers. In his sixth season, the 34th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft is often the forgotten man when things are going well in Miami. Yet he is also the one who absorbs the frustrations of his teammates when they're not. He is also an indispensable part of the team.

SB Nation caught up with Miami's starting point guard before Tuesday's game.

SB Nation: What have you learned about leadership since being in the league, playing with the guys that you do?

Mario Chalmers: I've just got to lead by example. Come to work every day, ready to go to work. Be out there and try to lead by example. Not just talk about it. Be about it.

SBN: We all know the positives of playing with guys as talented as your teammates, but what can be the challenges of playing with guys who all want the ball and all want to score?

Chalmers: Keeping everybody happy. Trying to get everybody the ball at the right spot, sometimes you're going to miss somebody at a certain spot and you know they're going to say something to you, but you just have to know you'll try to get them next time.

SBN: How long did it take you to learn where each person wants to get the ball?

Chalmers: It's different. For me and D-Wade, we automatically just had it. That was my vet when I first got here. It took maybe about a year for me, 'Bron and CB [Chris Bosh] just because they were new players and we all had to get accustomed to each other, and we switched the offense up that first year.

SBN: Can it be frustrating if there's a clip of somebody yelling something at you? Is it difficult to play on a team under so much scrutiny?

I actually enjoy it. It's something that you're always in the spotlight - Mario Chalmers on the public's fascination with teammates yelling at him

Chalmers: I actually enjoy it. It's something that you're always in the spotlight, someone always has something to say, but with us we don't let it get to us. We're just going to play our game regardless.

SBN: Anybody playing professional sports has to have confidence, but everyone goes through lulls and has down points. When that happens what do you do to stay confident?

Chalmers: I go to my mom. That's the person that always gives me confidence in everything I do. When things get tough, that's what I do. I always call her. That's the first person I call. She gives me words of encouragement. My teammates and coaching staff do a good job of always keeping spirits high, too.

SBN: How different is life in Miami from life in Alaska?

Chalmers: Totally different. Going from the cold to the hot, going from the beach to the snow. It's totally different. I love being from Alaska. It's something unique and different, not a lot of people are form there and I try to rep it every time I can.

SBN: What is something that people who have never been there don't know about it?

Chalmers: It's very beautiful. A lot of people take a lot of cruises, see the glaciers and everything, that's one of those things about Alaska, it's very beautiful. The people there are nice; we have a lot of wildlife. That's the main thing we've got that people don't really know is about our wildlife.

SBN: Let's take you back to March ... Madness. How often does that shot come up for you?

Chalmers: Every March Madness. I'm in one of the commercials, so every time March Madness comes around I always get questions about it and always hear about it.

SBN: Were you happy when you heard Andrew Wiggins would be going to Kansas?

Chalmers: Oh, definitely. I support Kansas to the fullest. I'm always talking about Kansas. I'm sure my teammates get sick of it, but I rep Kansas to the fullest.

SBN: Does it feel like you've been in the league six years, or has it flown by?

Chalmers: Nah, it feels like six years. It does. It definitely feels like six years, just because it's been a dream of mine and I cherish every year and I definitely don't take it for granted.

SBN: Can you describe those moments in crunch time?

Chalmers: You know the spotlights are on you. That's the main thing. You know you're on center stage an you don't want to disappoint your teammates and coaching staff. You want to make the right play and do the right thing.

SBN: Toughest player in the league for you to guard?

Chalmers: Chris Paul, just because he handles the ball so much, he has a million pick and rolls in a game.

SBN: Aside from two championships, a career-highlight?

Chalmers: 10 three-pointers in Sacramento.

SBN: What's a typical workout, during offseason?

Chalmers: I get up about 9, 10. Go to the gym get a lift in. Get some shots up afterwards. For me, I like to play pick up so I'm always trying to find pick up games wherever I can after I finish my work. Get out and play, always trying to fine-tune and work on some things.

SBN: Best advice you've been given about being successful in this league?

Chalmers: Always have confidence in everything you do. That was something I learned very early when I came into this league from D-Wade. Confidence will take you a long way in this league.

SBN: What don't we know about LeBron, Dwyane or Chris?

Chalmers: Y'all pretty much know everything. Y'all everywhere. I don't know if there's anything y'all don't know.

SBN: Anything we get wrong about the dynamics of this team?

Some people might think we're a Hollywood team ... but we put in just as much work as anybody else - Mario Chalmers on the Heat's reputation

Chalmers: Some people might think we're a Hollywood team. I know they were saying a lot of stuff about us going to the Bahamas for training camp, but we put in just as much work as anybody else, maybe even worked harder. That's why we're back-to-back champs.

SBN: How much harder was it the second time around? People always talk about how hard it is to repeat?

Chalmers: Very challenging. Just going through that long grind again and playing a team like the Spurs -- a veteran team, a great head coach -- they pushed us to the limit.

SBN: What was it like Game 6, Ray's shot? What is it like to watch that on the floor?

Chalmers: That's ... an intense moment. It's a feeling you can't even describe how intense it is. Something you have to be there to experience.

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