Fred VanVleet, CJ Miles on nickname, friendship and the Raptors' 'Bench Mob'

CJ Miles and Raptors guard Fred VanVleet discuss the root of the nickname "steady freddy", their camaraderie on and off the court and why the "bench mob" was a unique group.

Video Transcript

- Were you the one who started calling him Steady Freddy?

CJ MILES: Yeah.

FRED VANVLEET: I don't remember that day, actually. I do remember him calling me steady.

CJ MILES: You know, the reason I called him steady-- like, I called him Steady Freddy because he didn't-- nothing rocked him. Like, nothing-- nothing sped him up. Nothing changed his approach.

FRED VANVLEET: I mean, I remember him calling me steady. I remember him calling Pascal Skills. Like, I remember all of that stuff.

CJ MILES: Wait a minute, P-Skills.

- Sorry, yes--

CJ MILES: [INAUDIBLE]

- --P-Skills.

FRED VANVLEET: And CJ was very, very instrumental to all of our development. He was a great vet.

CJ MILES: You know, his mentality off the floor, the route he had to get-- he had to go through to be even there when I got there. You know, he's, like-- at this one, like, what's harder than that? You know what I mean? We just-- I'm in the game now. Like, this is the easy part. Like, this is what I wanted, so--

FRED VANVLEET: A good dude. That's my brother. And I just think that what he brought to us at that time, for what we had, we had so much young talent coming off the bench. And then you add a vet in there who was a sniper.

CJ MILES: That was my role because-- and I was good because those guys, Delon and Fred, were great penetrators because Jak was a great screener so like. And then Jak got layups because I was a shooter. I would catch it, and they'd jump out. And I'd be able to get bounce passes to him and get pocket passes to him. Same with Pascal, so--

FRED VANVLEET: Yeah, we knew when we passed it to CJ he would shoot it every time. And so he kind of was encouraging us to do the same, and that was a big part of us building our confidence. Because when we all went out there, we just-- we had no fear. And we had, you know, incredible confidence to-- in each other and in ourselves. And I think CJ was a big part of that.

CJ MILES: I just instilled more-- my confidence in them, to give more of it. Like, that's all. And that's-- and we believed in each other, and we played unselfishly.

FRED VANVLEET: His personality and his positivity, his work ethic, I think it just-- it brought a different light to what we were already doing and kind of could be that foundation.

CJ MILES: I always saw that from him. He always-- he always carried himself in a way where you knew, like-- I wasn't worried about. I wasn't worried at him going in a slump or making a bad play, if it was gonna mess him up for six games or nothing like that. You know, like, never. He was always gonna be who he is.

FRED VANVLEET: One thing I learned from CJ was that he didn't have an ego.

CJ MILES: I had the most experience of those guys and just kind of being a leader. And all I ever did was encourage them.

FRED VANVLEET: He never had an ego. Whatever was happening, injuries, playing, not playing, he was a guy who was all about the team. He was all about his teammates.

CJ MILES: Sometimes people would talk to me like I had so much to do with those guys turning another corner. Those guys were who they were when I got there. Like, the only thing I did was scream at them for not shooting a ball or for not being aggressive.

FRED VANVLEET: He's one of the best shooters I've ever seen, and he was a competitor. And he's a really, really, really, really nice guy, but he can be nasty on that court, too. And I just loved playing with him.

CJ MILES: Everybody's strengths just-- it just melded. And it just kind of happened organically. We spent a lot of time in the gym together from the second I got there. And, you know, we did everything. We shot together after practice, before practice. We repped all our plays out together.

Obviously, when you scrimmage, we scrimmaged bench mob against-- if you wanted to call it that, the second unit against the first unit. Like, we did-- and we competed. We made those guys better. They made us better.

FRED VANVLEET: Our kids are friends. You know, our wives are friends. So CJ's definitely became family, you know, with us playing together. And we've missed him, for sure.

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