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Kickin' back | Ike Hilliard

Kickin' back with Bucs wideout Ike Hilliard

MELISSA LYTTLE   |   Times

MELISSA LYTTLE | Times

I understand you are the consummate sports fan, into everything from hockey to high-jumping. True?

Well, I guess. But the thing I'm really into nowadays is soccer. It happened in the last World Cup, watching Ivory Coast play. They obviously didn't have as much talent as everybody else, but two guys stood out: Kolo Toure, who is a hell of a defender, and my favorite guy playing the game right now, Didier Drogba. My wife played the sport a while ago. I always was just watching a bunch of guys just running around, (admiring) their skill level. But she's actually been the one to teach me about the game so I actually appreciate it. I wasn't exposed to it growing up. It was like watching hockey. I can appreciate guys skating real fast knocking the hell out of each other, but the only rule I really know is icing. I can't enjoy the game.

On that note, is there an athlete, past or present, you'd pay money to see?

Well, if Tiger (Woods) shows up on our sideline again, I might have to ask him if I can come watch him play. I'm still ticked at myself that I never saw Michael (Jordan) play live. I'm a big basketball fan. But that's it as far as our time. I'd love to see an Ali fight. I'd love to see Pele play. I'd like to see Joe Louis fight. I'm not a big boxing guy, but I can appreciate the sport. … Sorry, I feel like I'm rambling.

No worries. What else did you play growing up?

I played basketball. I actually thought I was Isiah Thomas. I'd actually want to fight you if you said anything bad about Zeke. At a very young age, I was already trying to figure out how to score 15, dish eight (assists) and grab seven rebounds, and I'm all of maybe 5-1, 125 pounds then. (Basketball) was my first love. … Oh, and I tried to run track, but the guys were too fast for me.

Were you a sprinter?

Well, I wouldn't necessarily say that. I ran the 200 (meters) and the third leg of the 4x100 (relay).

A weekly question: What Web site do you visit the most?

Rotoworld.com, because I like to see what's going on in fantasy basketball. That's usually the first page that I go to once I see what's going on in the world. Fantasy basketball is my thing. I'm big on that. I even get the (cable package). I'm a big NBA guy.

The other weekly question: What's playing the most on your iPod?

Well, I listen to a lot of different stuff. The album I probably play the most right now is Coldplay's new album. But I'm not into a lot of mainstream music. I like artists like Van Hunt, Elzhi — his album is incredible. My favorite artist of all time is probably Scarface, because he's from the South like me. I'm biased. It's a lot of stuff that's different; a lot of it is stuff that people have never heard of. I don't know if you want to touch this one: Danny Wuerffel or Tim Tebow?

Wuerffel. That's easy. He's my guy. Nothing against Tim, as great as he has been and has the potential to be. He's working with a ministry down in New Orleans, and my wife and I do our best to sponsor a kid or two every year. He's doing a great job with that. I applaud him. We don't talk as much as I would like. He's my guy — always.

Your wife (Lourdes) is of Cuban decent. So, how much Cuban influence is there in your house?

My house is Cuban. That's my whole life. My girls in the house and my wife are my whole life. My kids, we actually speak to them in Spanish. I'm learning. I mean, I don't know if you can drop me in Little Havana and see if I survive, but my 2-year-old, that's her first language. It's going to be (7-month-old) Ilysa's first language, too. They'll obviously learn English at the same time. Spanish will help them in Miami (the family's offseason home).

Any Cuban food being cooked around there? What dish is a must have?

Oh, yes. Every day. I'm a simple guy. I just need some picadillo. I don't need to get into anything complicated.

Wait a minute — who's cooking, you or her?

Oh, no. I'm not cooking. Trust me, if I cooked, no one would eat.

How many NFL players can name the Ivory Coast's top soccer stars? Ike Hilliard can. And this is another thing you didn't know about the former Gator: He's a fantasy basketball freak.

Ike Hilliard

Position: Receiver

Height, weight: 5-11, 210

Age: 32

Hometown: Patterson, La.

Pro: Giants first-round pick, 1997; joined Bucs as free agent in 2005; 6,137 yards and 33 TDs in career; played for Giants in Super Bowl XXXV.

College: At Florida, ranks fourth on all-time receiving list (2,214 yards); ranks second in touchdowns with 29.

Family: Wife Lourdes; children Kye, Kalyn, Leila and Ilysa.

Kickin' back with Bucs wideout Ike Hilliard 10/04/08 [Last modified: Monday, October 6, 2008 1:02pm]
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