Hard-nosed and fun-loving Dallas Mavericks forward Brian Cardinal wants to play ball and soon. But, if the NBA's labor issues can't be resolved during this latest round of negotiations, Cardinal will follow through with his plan to prepare for life after hoops.
"My plan is I’m going to go down to Purdue -- and it’s not 100 percent set in stone yet -- and I'm going to have a position down there that allows me to help mentor some of the kids and do some other stuff with the alumni group and that kind of stuff; kind of start my post-NBA career and then I’ll continue my workouts down there at Purdue," Cardinal said. "It allows me to essentially give back to the university and start my post-basketball career."
Cardinal isn't riding off into the sunset for a few more years, but he's put plenty of thought into what he will do when he does retire.
"This is essentially where I started my basketball career in college and now they’re giving me an opportunity to start my post-basketball career, and so I’m super-excited about it," Cardinal said. "And, it allows me to raise my family in a university setting, which I grew up in and I thought it was awfully valuable the things I learned."
His new gig is set to start later next week, barring a new labor deal, of course. He said he isn't sure if his ultimate goal is to coach or work on the administrative side or in a different capacity within the athletics department at Purdue, where he ranks 16th all-time in scoring, sixth in career rebounds, 18th in assists and -- this is so Brian Cardinal -- he was first in steals until being passed two seasons ago.
"This particular position is going to allow me to kind of see a variety of different positions, touch a variety of different departments and essentially allow me to grow and just find out what I excel in," Cardinal said. "Maybe that’s coaching, maybe that’s not, but this is a great opportunity for me at Purdue to kind of find our way."
Cardinal has spent the long offseason with his wife and three small children at their lake home in the small northeast Indiana town of Angola, a few hours away from the Purdue campus in West Lafayette, Ind.
He will become a free agent once the lockout is lifted and he is hopeful the Mavs will re-sign him. He joined the team shortly before training camp a year ago on a make-good contract and, well, he certainly made good.
Cardinal has enjoyed the extended family time -- his son Bryson is 5, daughter Emery is 3 and the newest addition daughter Delanie (Little Lanie as Cardinal refers to her) turned 1 last week -- but he said he's eager to get back to playing basketball.
"It’s nice any time y0u get to spend time with your family, but we’re definitely itching to get things going," Cardinal said. "It’s nice to see the leaves turn and enjoy fall, but I’d like to enjoy fall by playing hoops."