DeMarre Carroll has been an intricate part of the Atlanta Hawks success. As the team’s starting small forward, Carroll’s relentless defense and consistent jump shot provides balance for the top team in the Eastern Conference.
As the season comes to a close, Carroll is focusing on helping the Hawks reach the NBA Finals for the first time in the franchise’s history.
He recently sat down with rolling out to discuss the quest for playoff glory, his love for fashion, and giving back to the community.
At the beginning of the season, most sports critics predicted that the Hawks would finish in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference. But the team has shocked the basketball world. Did you feel a difference when the season began?
For the most part, this season did feel different. The first year, we were without Al Horford and we were losing a lot of games by one or two points. But when Al came back and we added a few more players, we got our rhythm. It’s the second year in the system and I think everybody is kind of feeding off of coach Bud [Mike Budenholzer] and we’re playing good basketball.
During that amazing 19-game winning streak, what was the mentality of the team?
We were just trying to build our identity and show the world that you can play team basketball. You don’t need a superstar like a LeBron James or a Kevin Durant. That was our main focus. We were taking it one game at a time. We were able to get 19 games in a row, so we were fortunate. Now we’re going into the playoffs and we have to be ready.
Beyond basketball, you have opened a boutique. Can you give us some insight on HypEZ?
We get a lot of our clothes from vendors around the world. We’re really just trying to bring that L.A. fashion feel down to Atlanta.
How did you develop your sense of style?
My mom, she’s a big fashion guru. She always used to tell me, “When you step out this house, you’re representing me, your dad, and this whole family. You can’t step out wearing [just] anything.” So when I go to the grocery store, I have to step out in something matching and nice. My mom and my older brother have been big inspirations to me. He died, but he was big on fashion. My whole family was a big impact on how I view fashion.
Speaking of family, you have a daughter. How important is fatherhood to you?
A lot of fathers aren’t there for their kids growing up. I come from a household where my dad was there for me and sacrificed a lot for me. I just wanted to follow in his footsteps. If you’re a dad, you just need to step up to the plate and do what you need to do for the kids.
You make a point to give back to the community. Can you discuss your camps that you will be hosting for kids during the summer?
This summer, I’m doing a camp in Missouri where I attended college, another one here in the ATL, and I have one in Birmingham [Alabama]. They’re all in July. You can go to my website, DemarreCarroll5.com, and see what the camps offer. The camps are going to be big for a lot of kids coming up because we’re really hands-on with the kids.
When you’re mentoring kids, what is the advice that you give about life off of the court?
You may not be the most talented person in your class or on your team, but if you work just as hard as the person with more talent, you can reach your goals. In life, you have to always work harder than the next individual.