Dontrelle Willis

May 15, 2006
May 15, 2006

Table of Contents
May 15, 2006

SI Bonus Section: Golf Plus
SI Players: Life On and Off the Field
Pro Basketball

Dontrelle Willis


As told to Ben Reiter

On being 24 andhaving six younger teammates

This is an article from the May 15, 2006 issue Original Layout

I have a goodtime with these younger guys. They tend to have more enthusiasm. But it's notlike I'm the wise owl or anything. I'm still learning myself. If they're askingme for advice, we're in trouble.

On lessons fromhis mom, Joyce

She told me towork hard so you don't have regrets. Do the best you can. She did the best shecould to play the mother and father role because my father wasn't around. Mymother was a welder in Oakland. She took pride in how tough it was and in beingthe only woman in the job. She worked hard, and now she has a hot position inthe ironworkers' union. She has her own office and more cellphones than I do.She wears a suit. I'm real proud of her.

On his grandma,Naomi

Grandma was theace--the best thing that ever happened to me. She's tough, man, a tough lady.When I was 10, we had this beige wall outside. I spray-painted a strike zone onit--a little X, about belt high. My friends and I started playing, and I hadred paint all over my arms, so it's not like I could lie. It was one of theworst beatings I ever got from my grandma. Legendary. She tried to whipeverybody that was part of it, all six of us. I think that paint's still upthere.

On playingbaseball video games

I'm the worst ofall time. I play against my cousins who are 12 and 13, and they beat the brakesoff me. They play as me, they know how to use me, and I can't get a hit offmyself.

On meetingShaq

Great dude.Dwyane Wade, too. They seem bigger than life on TV, but when you meet themthey're down to earth, as happy to see you as you are to see them. They'rerooting for you. Same as [the Dolphins'] Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor. I metthem, and I had to control myself and be cool and not be someone that's tryingto get an autograph.

On his lovelife

I'm not on themarket. I've got a girl, but I keep that under wraps because she's shy. I don'tthink she likes it when people give her a hard time about me.

On making $4.35million this year

I never thoughtI'd be in this situation. When you see the check, it's a whole bunch ofnumbers, and you don't know the magnitude of that type of money. I just countmy blessings. I haven't thought of anything that big to buy. Maybe Jet Skis. Ihave a condo near the water.

On the Marlins'uncertain status

This is a raresituation, with the team not sure if it's going to stay. But I love SouthFlorida. I love my teammates. I won the World Series in South Florida, so Ihave some great memories.

On his name

A lot of times Imeet people and they think my name is Don Trelle. Like, Mr. Trelle. I have tosay, nah, it's Dontrelle Willis.



PHOTOPhotograph by Brian Smith/Corbis Outline