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Monday, June 4, 2012
Exclusive: Kris Humphries on Nets, fans

By Lynn Hoppes

Nets forward Kris Humphries and TV reality star Kim Kardashian were married for 72 days.
Brooklyn Nets power forward Kris Humphries is a man of few words.

"My focus has always been on my family, faith and my job," said Humphries, who doesn't talk to media before games or frankly anyone as he gets in the zone. "I don't really worry about what people think."

So when you get married to a reality star and get divorced in 72 days, your world seemingly turns upside down.

But Humphries isn't depressed. He doesn't read the tabloids. And he's not spending all day thinking about the divorce proceedings.

Despite what you may be reading or hearing.

"Of course I'm happy," Humphries scoffs. "I'm very happy."

In an exclusive interview from Miami, Humphries reveals his thoughts on the renamed Nets, fans booing and what the future holds for him.

With the divorce proceedings in full swing, Humphries can't talk about his ill-fated marriage with TV reality star Kim Kardashian.

The 27-year-old Humphries, who filed a request for an annulment on the grounds of fraud, can’t discuss the 20-karat diamond ring, their $325,000 Ferrari wedding gift and his feelings about the marriage that was the crux of Kardashian's reality show on E!: "Kim and Kourtney Take Manhattan," the spinoff to "Keeping Up with the Kardashians."

But he did answer 10 questions without much pause.

You seem to thrive in the media circus, especially on the basketball court, averaging career highs of 14 points and 11 rebounds a game. How?

“Throughout everything this past season and the season before, I don’t want to be that guy that teammates or coaches say is not focused and instead of caring about the stuff off the court. It starts with my work ethic. All those people who were watching the show and saw me sitting around, didn’t see me get up at 7:30 and head to SportsClub LA on 51st in New York. I would be there every morning and working out until noon. I’d find my trainers and work. There were things I was doing that wasn’t interesting in the pop culture world.”

In a poll last fall, you were the most disliked NBA player, even more than LeBron James. Did you even notice the boos?

“For me, it was motivation. I think from that first game when I signed with the team, I started getting it from the New York crowd. I said, if it’s going to be like this, how do I take this and turn it into something positive? I have to go out and perform every night. The people are against me. So it was me against the crowd. My team had my back. It was all of us against them. And then there were those hostile games on the road. I didn’t really mind it that much. I used it as motivation.”

Kris Humphries
Kris Humphries loves greeting basketball fans who really care only about what happens on the court.
What has been the reaction when you actually meet the fans?

“I love meeting basketball fans. A lot of them have followed me before all of this. The basketball fans have a special place in my heart. The other fans? Well, I think people want to meet you and get to know who you really are. I think, over time, a lot of them have gotten to know me and see me in a different light outside the show. They see some of the stuff I’ve been doing off the court. I’m letting them see the real me. I’m an athlete who loves family.”

Tell me about the the hilarious, off-color segment you did for the "Funny or Die" web series.

“I’ve always thought I was pretty funny. I had seen and followed the 'Funny or Die' segments for a while and when they called me, I said, ‘OK.’ It was something different. When I was playing in Toronto, I would go to comedy clubs and see standup and improv. I thought the way the segment came out was cool. I had a lot of fun with it. It’s fun to do something different when you’re an athlete.”

On the reality show, you were a smart aleck on a lot of scenes. The reactions of the Kardashians and then TV fans wasn't necessarily positive. Are you curbing some of that?

“I think you have some people who think I’m too negative. But a lot of people have gotten to really know who I am. I think you always have to be yourself. No matter what I do, some people take things the wrong way. My hope is a majority of people have fun with it.”

With your great year for the Nets at $8 million, you're now looking for a long-term deal. Do you want to stay with the Nets?

“I’d like to be back. But you never know sometimes. I’m so glad that Coach Avery Johnson gave me the opportunity. I learned a lot and I had gotten better every year. I’m looking to continue to do that. But it’s the NBA. You never know what’s going to happen. You might be hoping for one thing, but in the end ... it’s the NBA.”

So how have you been staying busy?

“I’ve spent this summer training a lot. I just got done with a MMA workout. I’m always swimming and doing a lot of cross training. I just finished a two-hour workout here in Miami.”

What other activities are you doing this summer?

“I’m working at building a new outdoor basketball court in Minnesota. I have a summer camp there. I’m also having a lot of meetings about studying childhood obesity. I’m looking at healthy options for young people also.”

What’s in your crystal ball for the next handful of years?

“I’ll be playing in the playoffs. I’ll try to continue to work my personal goals in basketball. I’m trying to make a difference. Everyone has a platform. A lot of people talk about charities thinking it’s just a cool thing to do. I spend a lot of time looking at sites for new courts in Minnesota. I’m not sitting there calling the tabloids to tell them what I’m doing. It’s about your commitment and not caring what other people think.”

The show always seemed to pit New York/Los Angeles vs. Minnesota. You always stressed your love for your home state. What makes that place so special and why are the people there so special?

“My friends and family know me and I love how I rep Minnesota. I'm all about family and friends and my work. I don't concern myself with what's out there. When it comes to all that off-the-court stuff, my good friends know what to bring up and what not to bring up when it comes to those tabloids. Anyone who lives their lives reading tabloids and consumed by that will not be living a happy life. They will always be chasing something that is not going to be there."