Channing Frye returned to Tucson on Monday to host the annual CATSYS, the University of Arizona’s student-athlete award banquet.
Before then, he grabbed a few beers at Frog and Firkin, munched on some Mexican food at Illegal Pete’s and met with the media to discuss a variety of topics, including his NBA retirement, his fondest memory at Arizona, and lots more.
Here is the full interview along with the transcript.
Channing Frye met with the media before the CATSYS to talk about his NBA retirement, his best memories at Arizona, his favorite spots in Tucson and morePosted by AZ Desert Swarm on Monday, April 22, 2019
What has changed about Arizona since you went here?
Everything, I think just the dynamics, the diversity, like how many new buildings (there are), the advancements and everything. It has been amazing, I think the city of Tucson is flourishing. And it’s awesome. We were eating at Frog (and Firkin) and we’re just like, ‘man, like, could you imagine having a little train or a trolley that took you from this side to that side?’ You had to find somebody who wasn’t drinking to get you a ride to this side.
What’s your best memory in McKale Center?
My freshman year, we won against UCLA and we were down 23, and then we came back and they rushed the court. I think I was only time they have ever rushed to court.
What’s retirement been like so far?
It’s great. I’m chilling. My body is rested. No expectations on needing to be in shape all the time. So I’m chillin’. Had me a nice couple wings this afternoon. I thought about getting on a bike and I said, ‘eh what for?’ So for me it’s just embracing it. Somebody says, ‘What are you gonna do?’ I said anything. For the last 27 years somebody said when to wake up, how to eat, how to work out. Now it’s more like what do I need and what am I going to be happy doing next? So it’s been pretty awesome.
What do you think about that freedom?
Freedom is scary at first until you kind of schedule it out. And then for me, I’m just trying everything out. I I’ve already done NBA TV. I’ve done Twitter stuff. I’ll go back and do some stuff with ESPN. I’m going to follow some coaches and see if I want to do that. But I think for me just to have the opportunity to take my time and figure out what I’m going to love I think is great. Because I think as soon as I figure out what I love next, if it is including basketball or being a part of something basketball, I’ll be really good at it.
But is broadcasting in the immediate future?
Yeah, right now. I think for me that’s where I could talk basketball, I can help bridge the gap. I think sometimes basketball seems complicated and sometimes if you just break it down to simple things it’s going to help the fan, the person watching, watch it more and understand it. I love soccer because Steve (Nash) would break down the game or Larry Nance is a huge soccer fan.
Do you think you would have the longevity that you had?
You know what, no, I thought was gonna be out of the league twice. When I was in Portland I didn’t really know who I was going to be as a player and got the opportunity from Steve Kerr and Alvin Gentry and David Griffin to go to Phoenix, and they were like, ‘we know you could shoot, we know you’re good at this. Be this for us.’ And it catapulted my career. And then when I had that heart issue for the year, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to play. So I valued my years playing, whether they were good teams or bad teams and I just enjoyed the opportunity to meet all these awesome guys.
What was your last game?
Oh, it was so tight, man. I had about 40 people there. All my friends are there. My family was there. It was bittersweet. I love my teammates. I’m very committed to the city of Cleveland and that organization. When you win a championship or you’re good, you have an attachment to a city because you couldn’t be that good without their support and energy and that’s what I like.
Again, I’ll do anything for Arizona, whatever they need. I think the guys that were here, that won, that were good, have the same kind of attitude. So for me, I took a big sense of pride regardless if on this team or not, making sure that they’re doing well and they know they have the support of the older guys. The Lute Olson era guys.
What advice would you give to current UA student-athletes?
Embrace it. I think the biggest thing that we noticed was that everything is kind of separated. Take time to get to know your fellow student athletes. Like I said on my Instagram story, I’m still friends with Jennifer Abernathy, Kim Glass, all those girls, anybody from different sports. These are like my friends like we’ve been through thick and thin of things and always battling and working out. We see each others’ sacrifice and we all love Arizona. So help that bring you together and just have a good time.
How’s your podcast (Road Trippin’) going?
It’s actually great, man. Everyone says why do you do it? And I think for me, no offense to you guys, but we asked different questions from a different perspective. And it’s not about us, it’s about them. It’s about their stories and the fact that we can connect with them. It shows different side of a lot of guys. We had Derrick Rose on. He doesn’t do interviews. But he had a great time. We had Tim Duncan and he doesn’t do interviews. And we were there for an hour. And he was like, ‘Oh, this is this is all we’re doing?’ I’m like yeah, we’re just talking. I think these guys have so many levels and layers to each other or to themselves that sometimes they don’t show it because they think they’re being taken advantage of. But we’re like, ‘Timmy, just tell us something good and we’ll be out of here.’ So it’s been amazing to have that opportunity to do it and I also respect your guys’s job because it’s hard. Sometimes guys don’t want to talk or you want a certain story and you’re not getting it, or they just don’t feel like being personable and it happens.
Was that story about Gilbert Arenas storming out of class legitimate?
Oh, that was super legit and it was absolutely horrible. That dude cussed the teacher out, turned off the lights. There’s a bunch of other stories that didn’t make it but he was a handful. An amazing, crazy, talented, psycho human, but he’s a good dude. You always have that one brother or cousin who’s crazy, but you always want to see what he’s gonna do next. That’s Gilbert.