******You guys know what's happening by now. This is our third interview with members of Shawn Kemp's Offspring in a series. I have yet to hear from Cheryl and TADOne, so if anyone sees them, tell them to hustle up! Anyways, here is our semi-famous author friend (how friendly did that sound?), Tariq Al Haydar. If you want to see all of the interviews, just click the label "SKO Interviews" at the bottom of the page. Just remember, the views and opinions expressed in this piece are Tariq Al Haydar's, not mine or anybody elses. OK, let's go!******
HIBACHI: Tell us about your childhood?
Tariq: I spent part of my childhood in Richmond, VA and then moved back to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia after second grade.
HIBACHI: How did you discover basketball?
Tariq: One of my best friends wanted to play in the NBA. He was the only guy I knew who could dunk (barely). He had VHS tapes like Come Fly With Me, and we watched them over and over again. Around that time we started to get satellite TV here in Riyadh so we would stay up until dawn to watch games.
HIBACHI: Hobbies throughout your life?
Tariq: I guess reading and writing. Watching sports (NFL and soccer too). Um... video games. And swindling non-profit organizations.
HIBACHI: If you went to college, where did you go and what did you study?
Tariq: I went to KSU here in Riyadh and studied English and then got my MA in English from the University of Exeter in the UK. I just got accepted into the PhD program at George Washington University.
HIBACHI: Marital status/kids?
Tariq: I'm getting married in July, God-willing.
HIBACHI: What is a cool thing about where you live that outsiders don't know about?
Tariq: I would think that people might enjoy the desert at night.
HIBACHI: Favorite player as a kid growing up?
Tariq: Appropriately. Shawn Kemp. And Penny.
HIBACHI: Do you plan on writing any more books (congrats on that, too)?
Tariq: Thanks. Yeah, I've written about 40 pages of the next one.
HIBACHI: Who is your favorite player now?
Tariq: Allen Iverson. Not a good time to be an AI fan.
HIBACHI: Have you ever met an NBA players?
Tariq: I remember my best friend and I were at Century City in LA in 96 and we saw Chris Webber get into his car. And I saw Jason Kidd at JFK airport a few years ago. But I never actually met anyone.
HIBACHI: Which rookie from the class of '08 will have a better career?
Tariq: Derrick Rose.
HIBACHI: If you could take any non-all-star in the NBA and place them on your team, who would it be?
Tariq: Deron Williams (Ed. Note: He got us. Originally he said Rajon Rondo, but, indeed, Deron is definitely the best non-all star in the NBA.).
HIBACHI: Who wins the Finals this year?
Tariq: Lakers over Cleveland in 6. (maybe 7)
BETCATS: Is the song Arab Money as offensive to you as it is strange to me? The chorus on that song is crazy!
Tariq: "Arab Money" reinforces certain stereotypes, but I don't view it as offensive per se. I think of it more as vapid. It's a very forgettable song. But no, I wasn't really offended.
BETCATS: What do you see happening in the Middle East? Talk about Afghanistan/Pakistan/India first, then i would like to hear your views on the seemingly crazy government that Israel now has.
Tariq: Honestly, the situation in the Middle East has remained the same for so long that I no longer follow the news. It's too depressing. Sorry, I would like to be more insightful, but I don't have the energy. All I know is that the American government will continue to serve its interests, Israel will continue to oppress Palestinians, lip service MAY be paid to an imaginary and far-off "two-state solution" which Israel will resist, and terrorism will continue to grow. That's my perspective, and it's pretty bleak, but it is what it is. I have no faith in a political solution to the Middle East problem. If there is to be a solution in the future, it has to start with the PEOPLE. I think Muslims, Arabs, Americans, Israelis...we all need to stop looking at the situation through a "We/Them" prism. The concept of the "Exotic Other" has to vanish in order for there to be peace. As for politicians and governments, they will continue to be self-serving.
Thanks to Tariq for making this happen. Cheryl, TAD, we're ready!
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