NEW YORK (March 31, 2015) – He’s a dazzling skater and the highest paid defensemen in the league. When he scores – which is often – you’re more than likely to see a dramatic show. Sometimes he mimics a hunter pulling back his bow and shooting an imaginary arrow. P.K. Subban has slain the opposing team once again. Some call him cocky; he’s the favorite boo bird for opposing fans. But as the young player’s skills peak on a legendary team that he could help win an overdue Stanley Cup for, he says the Montreal Canadiens come first and his flair for the dramatic is just an expression of confidence. Armen Keteyian profiles Subban on the next edition of 60 MINUTES SPORTS, Wednesday. April 1 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, only on SHOWTIME.
“Anybody that knows me personally knows that I’m not cocky. I’m a confident individual but I’m not cocky. I would never put myself ahead of my teammates, never,” says the 25-year-old star, who recently signed an 8-year contract for $72 million. His play has helped the team to one of the league’s best records and a playoff shot at its first Stanley Cup in 22 years.
He likens his role and confidence to other great sports stars. “What would Kobe do when they’re down by two points and he gets the ball? What would Michael Jordan do? What’s Tiger going do when it’s one shot away? They’re going to put the ball in the hole, in the basket,” he tells Keteyian. “So for me, when I get the opportunity to be a game changer, I have to do that.”
Pernell Karl Subban’s journey to the NHL is a little different from others. One of about twenty black NHL players, that journey began when his father Karl left Jamaica as a boy and settled in a snowy town in Northern Ontario, where he fell in love with hockey. Karl Subban taught his son the game on a small skating rink he built in his backyard and on the public rinks of Toronto, where P.K. grew up with his four siblings. Karl was serious about getting P.K. enough ice time to become a competitive player. Father and son skated together every night one winter when P.K. was just 5 years old, sometimes into the wee hours of the night. The profile includes interviews with Karl and Subban’s mother, Maria, who talk about raising the future star defensemen. In a touching and humorous moment, Subban shows Keteyian his first pair of skates: white, fur-trimmed hand-me-down figure skates from his big sister.
“It’s ok for parents to want it more than our children early on,” he says. “But eventually our children must want it more than we want it. And that’s…what happened with us.”
The desire instilled in the boy by his father has bloomed into a serious self-assurance on the ice. It’s a confidence that he says fuels the game-changing heroics he has become known for. Speaking about a winning overtime goal he scored, he tells Keteyian, “The feeling starts in overtime. Whether I have to put it around somebody, or through somebody, it’s going in. It’s like, when you smell blood, you got to know when to just end it.”
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