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On-Campus Interview Series: The Big P and A Lot of Laughs

This week’s interview takes us (albeit briefly) away from the titans of HBS rugby, and gives us a brief sojourn with none other than Jason ‘Big P’ Phillips. Everyone asks him about what the P stands for, and his answer is always different. Whatever this cryptic nickname means, the Big P has made a name for himself on the basketball courts of Shad. He’s only a little bloke by hoop standards, but he’s got a big heart, and a wickedly quick sense of humor. And he studies in his underpants. We found Jason in his room on Hingham St, musing about the post-modern dialectic of Jacques Derrida, but managed to steer the conversation towards sports.

Fact File: Jason ‘Big P’ Phillips
Height: 5’10” but with 6’5″ game.
Weight: Buck-90.
Eyes: In the back of my head.
Hair: Brown
Marital Status: Girlfriend. And she’s hot.
Favorite Food: Taco Bell Beef Baja Chalupa with three fire sauce.
Favorite Drink: Diet Pepsi
Favorite Film: Braveheart or Good Will Hunting
Favorite Band: Counting Crows
Nickname: Bird, Buck, Buddha, JP Morgan, Philly.
How Acquired Nickname: From Legend Larry Bird, from keeping the blinds down all semester and getting caught be fellow undergrad girls, from my belly and deep wisdom, from working in finance, and from having a last name of Phillips.

Harbus: What HBS sports team do you represent?

Jason Phillips: I represent the HBS Basketball Club, although its tough to just choose one since I was also part of a dominant force know simply as the Old C soccer team.

Harbus: What position do you play?

JP: Shooting Guard mainly, but occasionally I’ll play the point if someone can convince me to actually pass the ball.

Harbus: Could you tell our non-basketballing readers what the shooting guard role involves?

JP: Basically us short people play one of the two guard positions, either point guard or shooting guard. The point guard, unless its Stephon Marbury, is in charge of passing the ball to the other players and putting them in position to score. The shooting guard is on the receiving end of those passes and his job is to shoot from the outside or drive the ball to the basket.

Harbus: When and why did you start playing basketball?

JP: I started playing basketball at a young age, probably around 6 or so. At that age I idolized the greats, particularly Wilt Chamberlain. My reason for playing basketball is that even at that young age I realized that with hard work, dedication, and persistence, I too could sleep with 20,000 women.

Harbus: What is your best moment on the basketball court?

JP: That’s easy. This one time in high school my girlfriend and I sneaked into the gym after midnight and…oh, wait, you mean basketball moment on the court? Oh, ummm, let’s see, probably the time I went 6-6 from the free throw line as a Freshman at Colorado College to help secure a major victory. That was particularly memorable since I hadn’t played the entire game and I was so nervous that I banked the first free throw in, which is never good.

Harbus: How about your worst moment on the basketball court?

JP: My worst moment was not even during a game, but was at a practice where our coach got particularly upset at us and we spent the better part of two hours running suicides, which is a running drill that was actually outlawed at the Geneva Convention. At least three guys puked that day.

Harbus: What is your best moment off the court?

JP: Getting into HBS. It’s always been my lifelong mission to come here and experience firsthand the transformational experience that everyone keeps talking about. And I guess it must happen in year two, since the first year was really just about consuming loads of alcohol and re-hashing undergrad business learnings in case format. But any day now I’m sure that transformation will take place. I assume it somehow involves supermodels, a get out of white collar crime free card, and a trust fund.

Harbus: And the worst?

JP: Every experience is great.

Harbus: What is the biggest challenge of being an athlete at HBS?

JP: The biggest challenge is trying to balance school and sports. In undergrad we didn’t have to worry about academics since we always had “tutors” who would take care of your homework, going to class for you, shoot, they would even take your tests. It was great! Here there seems to be some crazy expectation that you do your own work. Weird.

Harbus: Do you face any special challenges on account of your size?

JP: Since I’m much larger than average, I’ve had more than a few complaints about it not feeling right or that it hurts or that it’s just not natural, but I tell these coaches that complain that having a tall point guard is the way of the future these days.

Harbus: What advice would give young athletes?

JP: If you’re from the slums and you’ve lived your entire life in poverty, don’t listen to those upper middle class suburbanites telling you that you should pass on the millions you could make by turning pro and instead get an education in college. The only thing you need to do is be able to count the number of Ferrari’s in your garage after receiving your huge signing bonus.

Harbus: There has recently been a lot of debate about the fusion of sport and porn. What is your position on this crucial issue?

JP: Yes, this debate was quite prominently featured at the Republican and Democratic Conventions and I’m glad you’re addressing it here in a much more respectful and honest forum. And really, this isn’t a recent phenomenon, as this fusion is as old as the Olympic Games, particularly Greco-Roman wrestling. Two guys rolling around in the nude trying to “pin” each other? I’ve seen lighter fare on the Spice channel.

Harbus: Interesting. Have you had any experience with this issue?

JP: Playgirl had asked me to appear in a special edition magazine featuring the hottest male athletes of 2000, but other than that, no.

Harbus: Tell us a little about your other interest and hobbies – particularly the nocturnal one?

JP: At night I like to drink beer, eat a slice of pizza at Tommy’s, and watch Old School, in that order.

Harbus: Good luck with that. Thank you for your time.

JP: Thank you both.

September 20, 2004
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