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CAGE:Can't Cage former pro's words

Q&A WITH MICHAEL

June 07, 2007|By Soraya Nadia McDonald

Some professional athletes head for charity golf tournaments when retirement hits. Others opt for "Dancing With the Stars," or lazy days at exotic beaches.

Many, like 15-year NBA veteran Michael Cage, offer their services as experts for television or radio. Cage is a color analyst for Grizzlies games broadcast on FOX Sports.

But Cage, a former 6-foot, 9-inch power forward who was drafted in the first round by the Clippers in 1984, has elected to spice up his life as a retiree with another activity as well.

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After all, at 45, he hardly qualifies for AARP membership.

Cage is a referee for youth soccer games, and the Daily Pilot caught up with him after he'd worked the girls' fifth-and sixth-grade Gold DIvision final of the Daily Pilot Cup tournament.

Even seven years removed from the NBA — Cage ended his career in 2000 with the Seattle Sonics, his fifth team — Cage still has an opinion about everything NBA. Cage topped Chicago's Charles Oakley in 1988 for the NBA regular season rebounding title as a member of the Clippers. He lives in Newport Coast with his wife and three children.

Question: How in the world did you start officiating youth soccer games?

Answer: In my spare time, this is what I do. I love youth soccer. I love youth sports, basketball, football, baseball, and I have three kids who are playing club soccer and also participating in the Pilot Cup this weekend.

I got involved in soccer because of my wife [Jodi]. She was a tremendous soccer player. She played for 17 years. She has such a love for it and passion for it. When I met her, during my pro career, she always talked about soccer, so I started playing soccer with her in the off-season. It just took off from there, and I've stayed an active participant ever since.

Q: How would you feel if the Sonics, whose new owners are based in Oklahoma City, moved the team there?

A: What a shame that would be. I had some of the best years of my professional career in Seattle and it doesn't sound right. It's certainly looking like it at this point, because obviously the biggest political situation going on is them being able to get an arena. The city has said, "We're not going to do it right now. We're not interested in trying to work something out right now."

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