September 25, 2022

Tyrese Haliburton was never meant to be the face of such a fast-paced franchise.

A late 2020 Sacramento Kings lottery pick, the mantle didn’t quite cut it with De’Aaron Fox firmly entrenched as the star it all revolved around. However, Haliburton quickly established himself as someone who drove the Kings’ seemingly endless rebuilding forward. Someone who could help them get back to the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.

Then they swapped it.

In the months since last season’s blockbuster deal that sent Haliburton to Indiana for All-Star center Domantas Sabonis, the third-year guard hasn’t been shy about discussing the surprise of being traded by a team he was so committed to. Now, out of the fog of that shock, he sees the opportunity before him. With the Indiana Pacers, Haliburton has a chance to lead his own team.

The third-year guard sat down with For The Win to talk about his expanded role in the field and also a new role as an investor and brand ambassador for Natural Performance Wellness Products from Cheribundi.

(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)

AP Photo/Hector Amezcua

Tyrese Haliburton: “Ah, 100%. This is the first full offseason for me, where the Summer League is the normal time, the normal time between the end of the year and the start of next season. I really have the feel like this is kind of my first real offseason last year i stayed with the team all summer, and this summer i can venture out on my own and have a summer in LA – lots of guys NBA guys are doing that. So just kind of my first summer to really be an NBA player, I guess.

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

E: “Yeah, I think there are a lot of different things. I just think my pre-summer responsibilities are very different than they have been the last two summers where, you know, I’m expected to be a full-fledged point guard in the NBA now. So just different expectations as a creator. I feel like I’m a pretty good facilitator already, but I’m just able to score the ball better. The charge, or what I’m being asked to do, is probably more than I’ve ever been asked to do in terms of responsibility. So, yeah, I’m really excited for that. It’s an opportunity that everyone wants in their life and grew up wanting that opportunity in the NBA, so I’m really looking forward to it.

E: “Yeah, definitely. When I got there it was easy. I mean, other than staying in a hotel for a bit, it wasn’t hard at all. Honestly, just for me, this Indiana welcomed me with open arms, I was able to walk into an organization that showed me love from day one. And people really like me not only as a basketball player but also as a person. The people around me, the people around me made the transition easier. And, you know, I kind of agreed.

Related: The Pacers traded guard Malcolm Brogdon to the Celtics

E: “No, I don’t think there is anything specific. We have a lot of young talent, a lot of guys who are on their rookie contracts and have only been in the league for a few years. So you just want to see steady growth among us. Guys really go to the gym, work hard…because the older you get it’s almost like it keeps up to a point – where the younger you are in the league, the more you have to work on different things, different aspects and really need to add things to your game, and the expectations are clearer from the organization for the players and things like that. So really excited to see the growth of the guys. I follow almost everyone for the most part, I talk to them regularly. So I’m really excited to see them in the Summer League, but also to see them over the summer.

E: “No no. He actually came for a [pre-draft] coaching. We struck up a conversation, developed a relationship from there. So we stayed in touch, and as the draft approached and got closer and closer, I thought this was the right choice for us. Not only was it the right choice for us, but it was super realistic that this was what had a good chance of happening. So I was with him the day before the draft, we had a little chat and he talked to me about how he wanted to come to Indy. I was really excited to hear that. I was really excited that we were able to get him to join us.

AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

E: “Yes, I think they go together. I think he’s a really physical guy who can really do so many different things on the floor. And he just has a lot of room to grow as a player and he’s already that good. So I’m really looking forward to having a relationship with him and being able to grow together as two promising young guys.

E: “Yeah, you know, I thought it was great, because it was pretty natural how it came together. It’s a product that I drink daily, already a few times a day. And when I had the opportunity to join the company as an investor and brand ambassador, it was so easy, like a lay-up, an easy decision for me. Mainly because what I love about the products , it’s not only that they taste great, but it’s one of the only sports performance drinks scientifically proven to aid recovery and really help your body, so it was definitely an easy decision.

E: “Yeah, so it’s interesting. To start second year when I was with Sacramento, we had a back-to-back at the start of the year and they gave me Cheribundi and said it was tart cherry juice, and it is believed to aid recovery. And I really started to feel better after I started drinking more. I don’t really drink many drinks other than water, in terms of sports drinks. So when I was able to start drinking Cheribundi, I became obsessed with it pretty quickly. It has no added sugars and synthetics. It’s really just cherry juice, and the product that helps me in so many different ways. I’m someone who used to feel like I was sick all the time. I know it’s not safe to say, with what’s happened over the past two years. But sometimes I felt like I was depressed. And just the way my life was and the sport I play, just moving all the time. So it really helped me recover faster. I just felt better overall.

E: “Really, I came into Cheribundi last season, and it’s the healthiest I’ve ever been. I’m not kidding. Honestly, I’ve only missed two games all year with bodily things. I also had COVID for two games and was traded for one game. But it’s the best my body has felt in so long. And I think Cheribundi has a big responsibility to do in that. I drink one every morning to start my day. I drink one before I go to bed. And I usually drink one in the middle of the day. So it’s like two to three a day. C “It’s just something that not only keeps me hydrated, but I just feel like it’s really helping my body stay fit and healthy. It keeps me at the top of my game.”