Cardinal likely leaving Purdue when lockout ends
By Brian Peloza Post-Tribune correspondent November 26, 2011 11:28PM
Updated: December 28, 2011 10:16AM
WEST LAFAYETTE — Brian Cardinal just got new business cards, but he may not need them for much longer.
With the NBA lockout appearing close to a conclusion, the former Purdue basketball standout hopes to sign a deal to play his 12th season in the league.
Cardinal seemingly just returned home, joining the Purdue athletic department as an administration intern earlier this month. He’s been involved in numerous activities, including interacting with the men’s basketball team.
“It’s kind of a love-hate type of thing,” Cardinal said. “I’m excited and hopefully I’ll get a chance to play again this year, but at the same time, I hate leaving here. It’s exciting to be back and just be around the guys, be around the John Purdue Club and see what happens behind the scenes.”
Pending official approval of the new labor deal, Cardinal will begin the process of landing a new contract.
He’s a free agent after winning an NBA championship with Dallas last season and received a positive vibe from Mavericks management at the end of last season.
“I hope (to return to Dallas), but time will tell,” Cardinal said. “…If not, we’ll try to keep this thing rolling.”
Cardinal is as popular as he ever has been after his performance against Miami in last year’s NBA Finals, despite playing just six minutes a game. Nicknamed “The Custodian,” he drew charges and dove on the floor whenever and wherever to save loose balls and possessions.
And if any NBA player resembles your average guy on the street, it’s Cardinal.
He’s bald and isn’t going to awe anyone with his athleticism, even being described as looking like a “crazed fan who just ran onto the floor,” by Seth Meyers during his monologue at this year’s ESPYs show.
“I think a lot of people are able to relate to me because they can see a lot of themselves in me,” said Cardinal, who has nearly 23,000 followers on Twitter.
“I’m not the flashiest, I’m not the sexiest of players out there, but I go out and work hard, I grind. I think it relates to a lot of people….some people think I’m a good player and some people think I’m a terrible player.”
“In the whole scheme of things it doesn’t matter to me. I just go out there and play. Are there things I wish I could do better? Absolutely, but I play with the hand that is dealt me and I think I’ve been able to play it well and have done it playing my style. I’m a bald guy, I’m not the flashiest of guys, but I think I can be effective and get things done.”