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Fresh off signing a new, six-year contract with the New York Giants, fan favorite Victor Cruz stopped by Steiner Sports HQ on Tuesday to autograph some collectibles. Luckily, I was able to steal ten minutes with the electric wide receiver, so we could chat about his rise to fame, what it was like to buy his mom a house, playing basketball as a kid with Knicks star JR Smith, and plenty of other topics.
Here are some highlights:
Victor Cruz on being a sports fan:
I’m a big fan of all sports. I love the Yankees. I grew up on the Yankees; my grandfather wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m a soccer fan. I love English Premier League soccer. Most people probably don’t know that about me. I love basketball to death.
On playing basketball with JR Smith while growing up:
I live vicariously through JR Smith, who I played with when I was younger in my AAU days…we would go at it. He was 6’6” – he always had the attributes of a basketball player…We always knew he was the one.
On the importance of the Boys & Girls Clubs, which Victor will help support through his new foundation:
I was there when it opened, there when it closed. My mother had to rip me off the pool tables to leave. I was there after school, and for summer programs. I was in the Boys and Girls Club all the time.
On becoming famous in the last few years:
I was just out in LA and as soon as I landed, I was thinking "How’s it going to go in baggage claim?" I thought it would be okay…but 40 people rushed me for autographs! It’s getting a little more difficult to walk around, but it’s fun. It’s all in a day’s work. I remember when, five years ago, no one wanted my picture. Now I’ll be in everyone’s phones.
On making good money and how to spend it:
The biggest thing was for me to get my mom out of Paterson. I wanted to get her a nice home, so I moved her to Montclair. That was the biggest thing for me.
On Eli Manning's reaction to his new deal:
He sent me a text, congratulating me on the deal and saying “Let’s go out there and win some championships.”
On dreaming of playing in the NFL:
You grow up just wanting to play the game and wanting to help a team out at the very least. Then you’re a guy on your team that other guys look up to, thinking, “He was an undrafted free agent. If he could do it, I can do it.”
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And don’t forget: You can LISTEN TO MY OTHER PODCASTS, including Eli Manning, Magic Johnson, Joe Torre, Don Mattingly, Bill Parcells & Lawrence Taylor, Lou Holtz, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Robert Wuhl, Dave Winfield & Brian Cashman, by clicking >> HERE. <<