Audio: McCollum Discusses End Of Rockets Game, Team Identity, 'Northwest Swag,' LeBron and Red Wine On 'The Jim Rome Show'

by Casey Holdahl
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The day after losing to the Rockets at the Toyota Center, Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum joined "The Jim Rome Show" to discuss a host of topics, including the end of the game in Houston, the team finding their identity on offense, praise from Kobe Bryant, his partnership with Banana Republic, the tortured life of a Cleveland Browns fan, the endurance of LeBron James and his affinity for red wine, especially Oregon pinot noir.

You can listen to the entire interview below, though I've also transcribed some of the more interesting segments...

On whether Chris Paul violated an unwritten rule by scoring late in the Trail Blazers' recent loss to the Rockets...

CJ McCollum: "It’s tough. You look at how the game was going, I think we just scored on a possession before that and then we fouled. Maybe they thought that we were going to foul them again, wanted to get a quick two points, I’m not sure what the thought process was there. It’s the NBA, there is an unwritten rule but growing up, you play til the zeros. So if you don’t want somebody to score I guess we should have fouled him, I should have chased him down and fouled him before he laid it up. It’s a tough one. When it happens against you, you never like it, let’s put it like that."

On the Trail Blazers finding their identity on offense halfway through the season...

CJ McCollum: "I feel like we’re headed in the right direction. Early on in the season we were defending extremely well, top five in the NBA. But offensively we were in the bottom half, not very efficient, not getting a lot of assists, not getting any transition baskets. So I think we’re moving in the right direction having scored over 110 points the last five games. We’re still defending at a top five mark and now we’re improving offensively, getting more assists and having a more fluid offense. I think halfway through the season, considering how we’ve played, you’ve got to be happy that we’re in the fifth spot."

Whether LeBron James is defining a new normal in terms of athletes taking care of their bodies or if he's simply "a freak of nature"...

CJ McCollum: "He’s definitely a freak of nature. There’s nothing normal about 15 years of greatness, being under the microscope so much, eight straight Finals, playing arguably the best basketball of your career 15 years in. There’s nothing like this. I think he’s the exception to the rule, he’s done a great job of taking care of his body obviously. Very peculiar, particular about what he’s eating, what he’s putting into this body. I know the red wine is a remedy I’ve been using for three or four years now, so I’m glad to see that he’s enjoyed his wine. This is the best basketball that he’s playing. But I think the steps he’s made in his game — he came in wanting to become a better jump shooter, shooting 40 percent from three. He came in wanting to go win a championship, he’s done that. He came in wanted to lead the league in assists, he’s close to doing that. To see the strides he’s made as a kid from Canton, Ohio it’s inspirational because I know what he’s come from and I know what I’ve come from and to see him be at the top of his game for this long is special."

On his love of red wine...

CJ McCollum: "I try to get a glass probably ever other night, every couple nights. So a big win, I’m getting a glass out the cellar or I’m cracking open a bottle. If my girl is in town we’re definitely cracking open a bottle. We’re in Oregon so you know there’s some great pinots out there. I know Coach Pop(ovich) invested in A to Z so I have about 20 A to Z wine bottles in my cellar. Continue to stack it up but my cousin’s fiancé actually works at a winery in the bay area so she’s been helping me out, sending me different bottles and then just different people have been gifting me a variety of reds. I’ve got to credit my girlfriend because she put me on when I was in college and it’s changed my life."