"I tell people when you see me on the basketball court, that's easy," Hamilton says. "If you let dogs outside after they've been in the house all day, the first thing they want to do is take off. So I get out of the house and take off with them and I run till they quit. And if you know anything about dogs, they don't quit for a long time."
In his almost 700 NBA games over 10 seasons, Hamilton has averaged 33 minutes per game. [That's not as many as DET teammate Allen Iverson, who has logged more than 40 minutes a night for 13 years at the pro level, but it's still a lot of minutes.]
According to this article, "teammates call Rip Hamilton the 'Energizer Bunny' because he... wears out opponents. As [former] Pistons guard Chauncey Billups told The Boston Globe, '[Hamilton's] got some kind of sickness.... He doesn't ever get tired.'"
Hamilton, 27, who has turned in five-minute miles since his days as a high school track star in Coatesville, Pa., runs regularly with his two pit bulls. His other cardio workout starts at tip-off.
"He runs all game," says Detroit conditioning coach Arnie Kander. "Around picks, around screens. He's always running around someone."
Kander has worked closely with Hamilton on "body alignment and mechanics," including training on a "seesawlike board" to improves balance and ankle strength, and "enhanced lunges" which Kander says is "about perfecting the movement. It's almost Zen-like in that you do it until you're perfectly aligned."
Hamilton's "exceptional balance and agility" makes him one of the toughest guys in the NBA to cover. "He has an uncanny ability to maneuver through double-teams, dash around picks and slalom in and out of a forest of swiping arms and legs. He's always in an upright posture, always ready to catch a pass and release his pullup."
"He's a coach's dream," says Larry Brown. "He appreciates fundamentals and is always moving. You love that in a player."