Carolina Panthers

Q&A: Carolina Panthers CB Cortland Finnegan

Carolina Panthers cornerback Cortland Finnegan (foreground) jokes with his new teammates during practice on Tuesday.
Carolina Panthers cornerback Cortland Finnegan (foreground) jokes with his new teammates during practice on Tuesday. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Ten questions about life off the field with Carolina Panthers CB Cortland Finnegan.

Q. You had a funny line the other day about how being light-skinned made you think that you’re Steph Curry in the basketball gym. What are you like in the gym?

A. I prefer Jason Kidd. I love to set other people up. When my shot’s not on, I feel like I can go down low. I like my back to the basket and using the glass. If I had to pick one person I’d pick Jason Kidd. I have more of a set shot, 3-pointer like he does. I can get to the cup.

Q. You have a mean streak like Kidd too, don’t you?

A. You know what, that’s probably why I like J. Kidd. That’s what it is.

Q. You mentioned Dennis Rodman as your favorite player. Who else besides him?

A. I’m a Kobe guy. If you like Kobe, you can’t like LeBron. I love Kobe. Love love love love love Kobe. It’s either Rodman or Kobe for me.

Q. I noticed you’re getting the lay of the land here in the locker room. How different is it to have to figure out where the laundry goes or where you can kick your cleats off?

A. It’s just asking the right questions from these guys and asking what goes where. They’ve been doing it for so long. Once you get it, you’ve got it. It’s been fairly easy right now but I know there are some things down the road that will be hard.

Q. Is it like riding a bike?

A. It is. It’s basically getting back on the field and getting those game reps. Once you get all that terminology you just go play football. That’s what I really want to do is get it and go.

Q. You have a Panthers flatbill hat on. You have a Hornets hat in the locker. When did you get those?

A. I got all this stuff. Gloves and all that stuff. It’s actually a great hat. Got it this week. But I’m a Golden State fan and they play (Wednesday) so I’m excited. I got Chef Curry. That’s my dog.

Q. But you’ve not always been a Golden State fan, though. Right?

A. I’ve been a Steph Curry fan. I just love from when he first got in the league to now, how he’s improved every year. That’s just something that, as athletes, you can gravitate toward it. He put in the work and year in and year out you can see the results. I appreciate his game so much because you think he’s not going to get better and then oh, he got better. What more can you do? And he continues to defy that.

Q. So you know he’s from Charlotte and went to Davidson and all that?

A. Yeah. Come on now. I’m from Fayetteville. And he’s light-skinned. There ain’t too many light-skinned guys. There’s Blake Griffin, Steph Curry and Jason Kidd. That’s all I have. You have to know your own.

Q. Are you a military brat?

A. I am. Dad and mom both did 20 years – retired – so Fort Bragg was the spot. Hang out there, shine your shoes and make your bed. Don’t take crap from anyone. I think being a single-parent mom she was like, ‘Listen you’re going to be small your whole life so don’t take crap from anyone.’ That’s the mindset I’ve had thus far. Sometimes it pays off and sometimes it doesn’t.

Q. Do you still live a military-like lifestyle?

A. Yeah, still make the bed every morning. Not OCD but you like things to be neat. Just put it back where you found it. Football trains you to do a lot of that stuff: Be on time, be neat, put stuff back.

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