Q&A: Raptors’ Miles on fatherhood, health status, C.J.’s PJs

Raptors forward C.J. Miles joins Sportsnet's Starting Lineup to discuss his pride in coming off the bench and hitting 3's, and why he believes this Raptors team has a perfect championship calibre mix of players.

Everybody loved the itty-bitty ballers brought to us by the big hands of Jonas Valanciunas. Following that, Norman Powell took his talents to the piano.

For the last couple years, Toronto Raptors players have used their hidden talents to become pitchmen and E-commerce website builders along with GoDaddy Canada.

The latest incarnation of the series features C.J. Miles promoting and selling CJ’s PJs with all the proceeds going to the Boys and Girls club of Canada.

Miles is hoping to trade his custom pyjamas for a team-issued uniform as his stint on the IR comes at an unfortunate time with the Raptors’ wing depth depleted.

I caught up with Miles for a chat about his improving groin injury, celebrating both American and Canadian Thanksgiving and raising his daughter as a Canadian on little rest.

Sportsnet.ca – At what point were you like, Jonas Valanciunas you’ve had your turn, Norman Powell, you’ve had your turn, let me see what I can do in the acting game?

C.J. Miles – This just kind of came about I didn’t really think about it that way even though mine is way better than both of theirs. That is me being biased but it’s been great.

SN – The money you make from the sales goes to the Boys and Girls Club. Why was that important for you to make part of the initiative?

CM – Just because growing up and being a part of the Boys and Girls Club in Texas and knowing what they did for me. Whether it be helping them with school activities, after-school activities or different things that help them learn and progress in anything to keep them from trouble, which the biggest thing it did for us when I was growing up and I think that that idle time is dangerous.

SN – You’ve got your own little girl now who turns one tomorrow in Ava. Is that the reason why you’re getting no sleep?

CM – I mean she’s sleeping through the night now, but you definitely go through a long string of months with no sleep, especially with the schedule we already have and then you know, you want as much time with her as you can because you spend so much time on the road and back and forth. But she’s been a blessing, man.

SN – How has she changed you?

CM – I always say this not trying to make it sound like I was a terrible person before I had a child, but once you have a child it really puts a magnifying glass on your steps. Like, you know, someone is really watching. I’m her main source of information on how to conduct yourself and how to act, how I talk to people how I treat her mother, how I talk to my mother. I’ll talk to my father, like these things that seem little to us over time, but now every conversation she’s around and she sees. And it starts from Day 1. People think because she’s not talking, she’s young and things like that that it really doesn’t matter. All that stuff weighs in on a child from day one.

If there is a podcasting odd couple, this might be it. Donnovan Bennett and JD Bunkis don’t agree on much, but you’ll agree this is the best Toronto Raptors podcast going.

SN – The “bench mob” is not really together and you no longer are the bench dad. Has that been a different mindset for you?

CM – It’s definitely been different. We knew that coming into the season it was going to be different obviously with different players coming in and there was a chance that you know, the bench mob could not be together anymore. We lost one guy anyway, so we knew it was going to be a little different. It’s about us being the best we can be and we have to trust the coaches. They have to put guys in positions to make up the best team we can be and that’s part of being a professional and part of being a teammate and everybody says the goal is to win. So, if it’s going to help us win, which we are doing, I can’t be upset about that.

SN – From the outside looking in that seems to be an example of change between Dwane Casey and Nick Nurse. What is the biggest change?

CM – I think Casey was definitely a little cut from the old-school cloth. Which definitely helps when you’re starting the foundation because you need that. You need the foundation of it still playing hard, and still playing the right way, still doing the same things. I think Nick’s biggest thing is he likes to play with the lineups. He’s not afraid to. Not that Casey was but Casey was still learning to do that.

And I think he’s doing it more in Detroit. But you know, playing a small-ball game, playing a faster game, adapting to the three-point shot being a big part of it and all the things like that Nurse was already kind of ahead of that, which is what made our offence what it was last year because Nurse was in charge of that, so it’s been smooth.

They’re both, in their own manner, great coaches. It’s been fun playing for both of them.

SN – Raptors fans want to know when you’re going to be in the lineup, especially with Norman Powell out and with Kawhi Leonard being rested on back-to-backs and OG Anunoby out. How frustrating has it been, especially when the wing depth has been depleted?

CM – Frustrated is definitely the word. But I mean, it’s just something I got to take care of. I’m definitely close to being to being back out there, like in the real immediate future. So, I’m working on it as much as I can. The biggest thing is I want to be healthy. I don’t want to be out there and not be able to help. That would be even worse to be out there and making us worse. So, that’s what I’m working on now.

SN – Thank you for taking the time away from the turkey and the football to talk. Do the American guys on the team celebrate Thanksgiving twice being up here?

CM – Yeah well, my daughter is Canadian. So, we had a Canadian Thanksgiving for her. I have some family in town. It’s her birthday obviously, so it’s kind of a big deal.

SN – Even though her parents are American you embrace the fact that your daughter was born here and she’s Canadian?

CM – That’s a part of her and part of us forever now and it wouldn’t be fair for us not to. That’ll be a part of her for life because that’s a part of who she is.

SN — Everyone talks about the acquisition of Kawhi, but Danny Green has been such a great acquisition. What is practice like with you guys having shooting competitions afterwards?

CM – We have to be better at everything always. All the drills we do, we definitely keep an eye on all the numbers and we go back and forth and have our days of going head-to-head. He’s got some wins and I’ve got some wins but it’s definitely fun to have a guy that’s going to push you every time you want to shoot. When he came we kind of gravitated towards each other because you want that. It is only going to make you better. It’s kind of like when I came into the league I learned a lot from Kyle Korver. Even though I knew he was going to beat me all the time I always wanted to shoot with him because I know it’s going to push me to shoot the ball the best I could.

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SN – What is your routine around getting more rest? Are you a nap guy?

CM – I’m definitely a nap guy, I try to get one in on game day. I’m a firm believer in the rest research and the studies behind a good night’s sleep. You know what it’s done for athletes for injury prevention and all the things for strength, your focus for the games and all those things. That’s the biggest thing that we’ve tried to add over the last couple years as far as the rest. It’s been helpful to have the information.

SN – Are you an early riser or are you pressing the snooze button?

CM – Depends on the day. I think I’ve gotten better with the birth of my child to be able to deal with it. But I also go to bed earlier because of her, too. So, it’s worked out.

SN – I’ve heard athletes talk about dreaming of things in their sleep that actually happened in the game and visualizing it. Jerry Rice said he saw plays in his dreams before they actually happened. Is that actually true for you?

CM – Definitely. I think that the mind is very powerful and I think you can manifest things through meditation, concentration on things and having yourself prepared for those moments. I think that’s where that comes from. I think it stems from that first. I don’t think you can have the dreams if that’s not something that’s heavy on your mind, something that you practice and meditate and concentrate on so I definitely believe it.

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