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Sitting down with Uche Nwaneri


This is part two of a two-part interview.

You did a pretty cool thing last year to raise money for the daniel home with the monthly "Gaming 4 the Cause" events. Most people don't know that you did this on your own, meeting with representatives of daniel, Sneakers and Gamestop.
I talked to all of them and we all got on the same page. Everybody wanted to do it and they felt like it was something that would work. We had a pretty modest turnout throughout the season. We're going to do it again this year. I'm going to get details up on twitter pretty soon. I'm actually in the process of starting my own foundation so if I can get it up and running before the season starts then we're going to do the tournaments under that umbrella.

What are you trying to do with your foundation?
The first project I want to do will tie in with "Gaming 4 the Cause." I want to raise money for scholarships to be given out for students who are involved in arts; painting, poetry and all different types of those things. I was really into arts coming up and I feel that is a good scholarship to give out for someone using their creativity, somebody taking their talents and maximizing them. I'm in the early stages of getting everything set up. I'm going to make a twitter account and try to get a website up as well.

Speaking of arts, you made a long trip in the offseason.
I went to London for two weeks for the first time. I had been out of the country before but this was the first time on an actual lengthy vacation. I went to Paris and had the opportunity to see the Mona Lisa, well, at least get 20 feet from it. It was nice to get out of the country and see different things. I really encourage people to broaden their horizons. You see how other countries live and how other countries function and it gives you a much greater respect for things that aren't American. Everybody is really proud and patriotic here, which is one of the great things about the United States. At the same time, you want to see what else is out there. I know it's not easy for everybody to get out of the country. There are so many things to see.

Is this something you wanted to do from a young age or something you developed a taste for following college?
I have always wanted to travel. One of my things is I like to see different areas. I like to go places where things are different from what I'm used to seeing. People go to Miami, Las Vegas and New York but I want to go see these other places. I took one of those double-decker bus tours in London and there were so many amazing sights. You go by Abbey Road and see so many different historical spots that have been there for literally a thousand years. London is separated into two different halves; the old London which is now a business district and then there is the city where everybody lives. Going to Paris is a two-hour train ride and you get to see the Eiffel Tower. The architecture is amazing and it's a really neat experience. I feel like everybody should have an opportunity in their lives to see it.

Do you have a bucket list of places you want to go?
Next on my list is South Africa. I also want to go to Greece, but right now might not be the best time. One of my long-term goals is to try and travel the world. Of course, that is post-football. I want to see everything I can, the seven wonders.

You're passionate about the Dallas Mavericks. Reportedly there are ongoing talks to re-sign your friend Dirk Nowitzki and I know you would love to pair him with LeBron James.
I'm just predicting here because I haven't talked to him about it personally, but I do imagine Dallas will try to make a big deal and get him and LeBron. I'm confident Dirk is going to re-sign. I just don't think he can picture himself going somewhere else to play, he's so associated with the Dallas Mavericks. I think what they are trying to do is see how they can arrange a deal for LeBron. That's the one thing he wants. If you look at it, if LeBron is trying to get a championship now, it's set up for him there more than anywhere else. Yeah, you can go play with Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade in Miami, but that's three superstar players who two of them would be coming into a system they haven't played in.

You pair LeBron James with Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki and that is a pretty lethal team.
You have a player that can consistently give you 25-plus points a game, a point guard who will consistently get you the ball and knows how to facilitate an offense and you have a bench that can only make the team better.

Have you always been a fan of the Mavericks, growing up in the area? They have revitalized that franchise with Mark Cuban as the owner.
I remember Reunion Arena with Jimmy Jackson, Jamal Mashburn and Popeye Jones. They were talented then but they didn't have the coaching to get where they needed to be. Mark Cuban makes it fun to be a Mavs fan. I go to Mavs games every chance I get in the offseason and it's a different culture now than it was in the early '90s. People were still fans but they didn't care too much because they didn't come through.

You have the opportunity to return home this year for the first time as NFL player when the Jaguars play at Dallas on October 31.
I circled that date on my calendar. My best friend, Anthony Spencer, plays for Dallas. Every time I'm back there I'm poking fun at him. It's going to be a great homecoming for me and we just have to get the win. I have a lot of family and friends there. I'm going to play against one of my best friends; we played together and roomed with each other in college. It's going to be fun.

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