Spalding sponsored an "Arena to Driveway" competition on Facebook that awarded one fan of their Facebook page with a brand new Spalding basketball hoop, a rack of basketballs and a chance to play Miami Heat star point guard, Mario Chalmers, one-on-one.
Brooklyn, NY resident Carlos Mayorga won the competition by submitting a picture of his dilapidated backboard to Spalding, who decided that he was in the biggest need of a court upgrade.
Carlos Mayorga got what he wanted. A new basketball backboard and a chance to play with an NBA superstar, and Bleacher Report got what they wanted—an interview with Mario Chalmers.
Ahead is a breakdown of Mario Chalmers' interview with Bleacher Report's NBA Featured Columnist, Peter Emerick.
Peter Emerick: "So how has the offseason been since you won the 2012 NBA Championship?"
Mario Chalmers: "The summer has been great actually. I've had a lot of time to get outside. I've spent a lot of time with my son [Zachiah A'Mario Johnson]. I'm just getting work done."
Peter Emerick: "Do you have anybody that you've been training with?"
Mario Chalmers: "I'm actually training with a guy in Miami."
Peter Emerick: "How's that training been going?"
Mario Chalmers: "It's good. It's been agility work, core work, strength and conditioning. I've really been working on everything outside the court."
It's clear that Mario Chalmers is focusing on continuing to improve his game on and off the court, which is great news for the Miami Heat. Some players become complacent after attaining a certain level of success, but that's not Mario Chalmers.
Chalmers is as hungry as ever, and he's ready to put the work in to make sure that he's putting his best foot forward out on the court.
Peter Emerick: "Is beating up on Spalding's 'Arena to Driveway' competition winner, Carlos Mayorga, part of your training regimen?"
Mario Chalmers: "[Laughs] It's going to be. I'm going to put some of my moves out there on the court. So you know I'll probably give him a little taste of my game."
Peter Emerick: "You are one of only three NBA players sponsored by Spalding; talk about what that's like to work with them."
Mario Chalmers: "It's a great experience, to work with a company from the ground up. You know, I'm fulfilling a dream. Everybody wants to have their own shoe, but to be included in the process is special. Having them ask for my basketball input makes me feel like an important person."
Peter Emerick: "What do you like in a shoe?"
Mario Chalmers: "The first thing is how light the shoe is. For a point guard you have to be fast on the court. This is the perfect shoe, it's just really light, and it has a lot of cushion in it."
Peter Emerick: "I don't know much about Spalding, but you won a championship so it can't get much better than that."
Mario Chalmers: "[Laughs] Yea, I'm happy with how everything has fallen into place and helped me compete for a championship."
Peter Emerick: "So are you going to take it easy on Carlos Mayorga today?"
Mario Chalmers: "We're trying to talk about that now in the car. We're getting a game plan and how we are going to approach the game."
Peter Emerick: "What are your thoughts on Dwight Howard getting traded to the Lakers, which makes them more of a super team than even the Miami Heat last year."
Mario Chalmers: "It's obviously a good acquisition for the Lakers, and I'm happy for Dwight. I think it will be good opportunity for both of them [Lakers and Dwight Howard]."
Peter Emerick: "I'm sure you've heard the Lakers vs. Heat 2013 NBA Finals talk, so how do you feel that the Heat match up with the Lakers now?"
Mario Chalmers: "I think we match up pretty good. We're a bit smaller than them, but we have more speed than them, and we've got better shooters than anybody on their team. You know, we've got some of the best players in the world."
One thing is clear, and that is that Mario Chalmers doesn't think that any NBA team is better than his Miami Heat. It's a bold statement to say that the Lakers don't have any better shooters than the Heat, but that's the kind of player Chalmers is.
Chalmers knows the talent the Heat have, and he is confident that he and his teammates can get the job done against whichever team they go up against. That includes the Los Angeles Lakers.
Peter Emerick: "Here's a scenario for you. It's Game 7, you're down three points with 25 seconds left and the shot clock expiring. I know you are big-shot Mario, so who's going to get the ball in that situation?"
Mario Chalmers: "Hopefully it's me. But with what he [Dwyane Wade] has done over his career, we are probably going to put the ball in D. Wade's hands."
Peter Emerick: "Deep in your heart, you want that shot though."
Mario Chalmers: "Yea, I want that shot."
Peter Emerick: "You were an NCAA champion with the Kansas Jayhawks, and now you are an NBA champion. What is it like to have fulfilled that dream?"
Mario Chalmers: "Yea it's a dream come true. You grow up as a kid, dreaming of winning NBA champions. But for me, growing up I watched Michael Jordan win all those championships, and I dreamed of being in that same spot one day. So to actually be here, and have one under my belt is an amazing feeling."
Peter Emerick: "You said you have one under your belt. So before you hang up your laces how many more do you think you are going to have?"
Mario Chalmers: "Hopefully three or four."
It's clear that Chalmers isn't ready to stop winning NBA Championships any time soon, though he didn't pull out a "not three, not four, not five..." championship line that teammates LeBron James did a year or two ago.
If Chalmers ends his NBA career with three or four NBA Championships he will be in elite company, which would further solidify him as an elite-level point guard.
Peter Emerick: "Now that you are an NBA champion you are going to have more young players looking up to you and wanting to be like Mario Chalmers. What is that responsibility like?"
Mario Chalmers: "I just have to be on my Ps and Qs all the time. When I'm out in public I need to be a role model for the kids. I need to be someone they can look up to or portray themselves as."
Peter Emerick: "Who was the player that you looked up to growing up?"
Mario Chalmers: "Growing up it was between Michael Jordan, my favorite player, and Trajan Langdon. With Trajan it was because it was somebody who was in Alaska [where Chalmers grew up]. He was somebody I could interact with every day and look up to."
Peter Emerick: "Have you tried to implement ways Jordan and Langdon played into the way you play the game?"
Mario Chalmers: "With Jordan I just tried to take his mentality. Everyone knows Jordan as a winner, and that's what I want to be known as at the end of my playing career. Someone who's won multiple NBA Championships and has made a difference in the NBA."
It's evident that Chalmers knows what it takes to be a winner, and that's what makes him such a special talent in the NBA. Wanting to be like Jordan growing up shows that Chalmers has had the mentality of a winner for quite some time now, and that's going to help him continue to be successful in the NBA.
Peter Emerick: "Rajon Rondo recently said that he's the NBA's top point guard. What are your thoughts on that, and where do you think you rank among all the point guards in the NBA?"
Mario Chalmers: "He's not the best, but he's in the top five. There are a lot of great point guards in the league, Deron Williams, Chris Paul and Steve Nash. There are a lot of great guards in the NBA so for him to say he's the best is a pretty bold statement. I'd say that I [Mario Chalmers] am in the front end of the top 10."
Peter Emerick: "By the end of your career will you be able to say that you are the best point guard in the NBA?"
Mario Chalmers: "If not the best, than at least one of the best."
Chalmers is smart to say that Rajon Rondo is not the best point guard in the NBA. He understands the hard work it takes to earn such an honor, and Rondo certainly isn't there yet.
If Chalmers wants to be the NBA's top point guard by the time he retires though he's going to have to either leave the Miami Heat, to be a more central talent to his team, or he's going to have to help turn the Heat's "Big Three" into the "Big Four."
Peter Emerick: "Talk about how LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have helped you develop into one of the top point guards in the NBA."
Mario Chalmers: "They've both helped me develop, from my basketball I.Q. to my play on the court. They've both just helped me become an all-around better player."
Peter Emerick: "Between LeBron and Wade, has one helped you more than the other?"
Mario Chalmers: "I think D. Wade, because I've been with him longer. You know, he was my veteran when I came into the league. I look up to him as my personal leader and my big brother."
Peter Emerick: "Does Wade ever push you harder than you want to be pushed?"
Mario Chalmers: "Yea we've had a couple practices like that. It's all out of fun trying to make each other better."
Peter Emerick: "During the NBA Finals, LeBron, Wade and even Chris Bosh were getting on you because they knew how good you could be. Did you ever want to tell them to stop?"
Mario Chalmers: "No, it wasn't like that. Off the court there was nothing to ever be said. We always hang out together off the court, and we've always got each other's backs. On the court we just wanted to win."
Peter Emerick: "How do you see Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis fitting into the Heat's lineup?"
Mario Chalmers: "I see them fitting in great. You know Allen is one of the NBA's best shooters and Rashard brings some size. It should help us out a lot."
Peter Emerick: "Have you had the chance to sit down and talk with Allen or Lewis?"
Mario Chalmers: "I've had a chance to sit down with Rashard Lewis. I've seen him in the gym working out and I've talked to him a couple times. He [Lewis] is a cool, laid-back dude who will come in here and take care of his business and do whatever it takes to win."
Peter Emerick: :What is it going to be like playing with Ray Allen, a player who you probably didn't like when he was on the Boston Celtics?"
Mario Chalmers: "[Laughs] Well it's one less player we have to worry about when we play the Celtics. That's the main thing. We're just working to make him feel at home.
It seems like the chemistry between the established talent on the Heat and their new additions is strong and the Heat's current roster is doing what they can to make sure they both feel like they are a part of the team.
Peter Emerick: "Who are three to five players you don't look forward to playing against?"
Mario Chalmers: "Chris Paul and Derrick Rose, because they carry the ball 90 percent of the game and they come of a lot of ball screens."
Peter Emerick: "I imagine them being physical defenders, is that true?"
Mario Chalmers: "They aren't as physical, but they definitely get their shots in."
Peter Emerick: "Which teams do you see as obstacles to a Heat repeat this season?"
Mario Chalmers knows that there are a number of teams who are setting their sights on keeping the Heat from repeating as NBA champions. But what is more important is that Chalmers knows the only team that can truly hold them from reaching their goal of being crowned 2013 NBA champions is themselves.
It's clear that Chalmers is ready to be an elite player in the NBA. His mindset is right and he is putting in the work to get the job done. We will just have to wait and see if the 2012-13 season will be his breakout year.