Starting Five: Victor Oladipo
ORLANDO – Victor Oladipo was warned that even though the NBA’s regular season is a marathon of sorts with 82 games, countless road trips and exhausting back-to-backs, it would fly by like a blur.
While he didn’t necessarily take that advice seriously at first, Oladipo realizes it to be true as he enters the final week of his rookie NBA season.
``It’s crazy,’’ Oladipo said. ``It seems like yesterday I was sitting in the green room (of the NBA Draft). They told me it was going to go by fast, but they didn’t say this fast. So I’m just trying to cherish every moment.’’
Magic fans have certainly cherished having Oladipo on the roster this season what with the energy, enthusiasm and high-level execution that the rookie has played with.
While Oladipo has endured a season full of highs and lows – something usually par for the course for rookies – the 21-year-old guard has often times been the best player on the floor. On more than a handful of occasions, he has been the best player on the court and one of the best rookies in the NBA this season.
While Oladipo has certainly lived up to his spot at the No. 2 pick in last June’s NBA Draft, he said what he’s accomplished this season is just the tip of the iceberg for him. He will tell anyone who will listen that he is striving for greatness and he’s not stopping until he reaches his maximum potential.
OrlandoMagic.com writer John Denton spent some time recently with Oladipo to see what makes him tick, what he does off the court in his free time and about that pursuit of greatness as a basketball player. Here is the question-and-answer session between Oladipo and Denton:
QUESTION: Everybody in Orlando probably already knows that you are quite the singer. But what’s a hidden talent that you have that nobody knows about far away from basketball?
VICTOR: ``Other than being able to sing, I am a very, very good cleaner. Growing up we had this thing where we had to clean our house. So every day on an off day this season, I clean my entire house. I know it’s kind of weird, but I enjoy it. And it’s not that I’m some kind of super neat freak, but it’s just that if I’m not doing anything I’ve got to clean.’’
QUESTION: You have mentioned before that you have a huge movie collection and that you are ``addicted’’ to movies. What’s your favorite comedy movie of all time?
VICTOR: ``I really like the `Rush Hour’ series. They are all pretty funny. I just really like Chris Tucker. I like all of those movies and the `Friday’ series because of Mike Epps, who went to Indiana like me.’’
QUESTION: What’s the first thing that you bought for yourself when you got your first taste of NBA money last summer?
VICTOR: ``I actually bought myself a wallet because I had the same wallet for the past five years and it was ripped and all of that stuff. My mom told me, `The first thing that you need to do is buy a wallet.’ So I actually got a chance to buy a Louis Vitton wallet that has my name and number engraved in it. It’s a nice one, but I really needed a new one.’’
QUESTION: You’ve mentioned repeatedly throughout this season how influential that your parents have been on you as a person and a player. Were you able to buy them anything as a token of your appreciation?
VICTOR: ``I bought my mom a fur coat that she’s always wanted that she can wear on Sundays to church. That was really nice and a special feeling for me. It’s always nice when you can do something to take care of your parents. It is the coolest feeling.’’
QUESTION: Are you more like your mom, Joan Oladipo, or your father, Chris Oladipo?
VICTOR: ``I have a lot of traits from both of them. My mom is really, really nice and outgoing, humble and likes to talk to people and I think I get that from her. My dad works really hard at everything that he does, but he’s a complete opposite of my mom. He likes to keep to himself and he doesn’t trust a lot of people. He really likes his domain. I think I take a lot of stuff from both of them. When I get mad or get upset, I kind of going into that shell like my dad. Sometimes I just like chilling in my house by myself and not doing anything else and that’s something I get from my dad. But then again when I’m around people I’m really outgoing and good to talk to. So I have half and half traits from my mom and my dad.’’
QUESTION: When you leave the arena after a game or following a practice, how do you get basketball off your mind? What’s your best way to relax?
VICTOR: ``After games, I usually always go out to eat with my teammates. But I usually go straight home, sit down and put on a movie that allows me to just totally relax. But eating with my teammates, laughing with them and enjoying their company – that usually gets my mind away from things.
``It’s just hard for me to shut off basketball on game nights because my adrenaline flows. It’s hard for me to be tired and sleepy after games because I’m still kind of locked in. I’m usually up pretty late, but popping in that movie really settles me down.’’
QUESTION: Your singing talents have already become the stuff of legend in Orlando what with you showing off you pipes at season-ticketholder events, in the locker room and on the bus for teammates. Who is an artist on your i-pod that you listen to regularly that would surprise me?
VICTOR: ``Oh, that’s easy … Frank Sinatra, no question. ``Fly Me to the Moon’’ is one of my favorite songs, no question about it.’’
QUESTION: Could you have sung professionally had you chosen to go down that path?
VICTOR: ``If I would have put my mind to it, I really think that I could have done it. I’d have to take a few more vocal lessons because I still have a lot of room to improve, but if I would have focused on it I think I could have been a singer for a living. I just feel like anything I put my mind to, I can do.’’
QUESTION: You have said all season that this rookie season is just the tip of the iceberg for you and that you have to potential to be so much better in your basketball career. When you say that you want to be great, what exactly do you mean by that?
VICTOR: ``There’s no question, I want to be one of the best to ever play this game. I feel like I’m here for a reason. I feel like I haven’t even scratched surface of what I need to accomplish. I know being a No. 2 pick is a blessing, but I don’t feel satisfied at all. I feel like I need to accomplish way more at this game. God has a lot in store for me here in Orlando. I want to be great and I want to maximize my days. I want to be one of the greatest; I want to win championships; I want rings; I want to be force in this league for a long time and I want the same things for this Magic team.
``Every since I’ve been (in Orlando) I’ve been pushing for more. It’s been my life-long dream to play in the NBA, but I have plenty more dreams now of being really successful at this level. So there’s a lot left for me to accomplish to be the great player that I want to be.’’