Former Hawk Josh Childress is back in the United States for at least the next month, rehabbing after sports hernia surgery he had Tuesday. But he plays on the other side of the world, leaving the Hawks for Olympiacos, a team in Greece.
He shared some of his thoughts on the groundbreaking experience with AJC Hawks beat writer Sekou Smith via e-mail.
Q. How is your season going, both for your team and for you individually?
A. From a team standpoint, the season is going OK. We have our ups and downs like any other team. We are 18-5 overall and still trying to get used to each other. There are 11 new players on the team this year, so its taking some time for us to jell. Individually, I am doing fine. I feel like I am learning a lot and becoming a better player. I have had to learn to be patient. As a sixth man in Atlanta, I averaged around 30 minutes a game. Here, I average around 23. My coach wants to limit guys playing huge minutes because he wants everyone to have some gas in the tank come playoff time. Obviously, I want to play as much as possible, but as the same time, I respect his thought process.
Q. Beyond Basketball, what's the social life like over there?
A. The social life is pretty cool over here. It's crazy that the clubs stay open [till 6 or 7 in the morning]. I just don't understand how the heck people can dance and party for that long. When I first got here, I went out a few times, but I haven't been out since. Everything I did and everywhere I went was plastered all over the newspaper. I couldn't even go have fun and dance without someone taking pictures or filming me on their videophone. So I try to just stay low-key now.
Q. Have you learned any Greek yet?
A. I have learned a few words. Of course, they taught me all the bad words when I first got here, but after that, I started picking up words and phrases in conversation.
Q. Where's your favorite spot for food over there?
A. My favorite spot for food is a place called Rich. It's one of the trendiest restaurants here. They serve really good food, and it has a great atmosphere. When I'm feeling a little homesick, I just stop at TGI Friday's and get some of that good ol' American flavor.
Q. So much was written, said and rumored about your departure for Greece. Now that you're months removed from the initial decision, what sticks out to you about why you made the move?
A. Well, when I first left, there was so much going on and it was a bit overwhelming for me. I was doing interviews left and right and I think it was a surprise for a lot of people. I was walking into a situation where I didn't know what to expect and was a bit nervous about it. However, I am happy I made the decision. I took the road less traveled and have been able to put myself in a pretty good position career-wise while learning a lot in the process.
Q. You'll have a decision to make this summer in terms of whether to stay in Greece or come back to the NBA. Will the economic troubles here in the States have an impact on your decision?
A. I will have a big decision to make. In all honesty, I don't know what I will do. I will be a restricted free agent once again this summer. My agent has still been working the phones and keeping communication open with GMs around the league. However, the owners and coaches here in Greece have expressed their interest in me staying even longer than my three-year contract. The economic troubles there definitely won't impact my decision.
Q. What kind of contact have you had with your former Hawks teammates?
A. I have kept in contact with Marvin [Williams], Josh [Smith], Mario [West] and [Hawks strength and conditioning coach] Chattin [Hill] the most. I talk to those guys through e-mail and just try to check in with them and see how things are going. It's tough sometimes with the seven-hour time difference.
Q. What's the one thing you miss most about Atlanta?
A. The thing I miss most about Atlanta is being able to see my mom all the time. She lived less than 10 minutes from me and was always over [at] my house cooking for me and just doing what moms do.
Q. You had the chance to be in the States on Tuesday when Barack Obama was inaugurated. But you were halfway around the world on election night. What was that like, watching such a historic moment from the other side of the world?
A. Election night was crazy. I was very excited to see history made, and they were televising everything, obviously. The reactions of the rest of the world were what shocked me. They were having parties here to celebrate the election. I have a barber who is from Africa and he was hype! He spent a whole hour breaking down how Obama will change the world and make it better for not only people of color, but also people of all races. From my viewpoint, the world embraces him just as much as America did.