Off the Court: Hakim Warrick

By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer

After playing with “seasoned” teammates in Phoenix such as Steve Nash and Grant Hill, for the first time in Hakim Warrick’s NBA career, he is one of the oldest members of a squad. The Philadelphia native turned 30 on July 8, making him one of only two Hornets in their 30s (Roger Mason, 32, is the other). A soft-spoken man, the 2003 NCAA champion from Syracuse University expounded on several of his interests away from basketball recently for Hornets.com:

Person who had the most influence on his basketball career: “My cousin Fred Warrick. When he was growing up, he was one of the top players in the city of Philadelphia. Then he went on to college and played at Coppin State. I always tried to just be as good as him. I remember reading articles about him in the newspaper.”

Person who had the most influence on him off the court: “Definitely my mom. She was always there for me. I remember at Christmastime, she made sure that I got the things I wanted. She was always supportive of me and worked so hard to make things comfortable for me. I’ve always been grateful that she was able to provide for me.”

Best moment as an athlete: “Winning the national championship with Syracuse in 2003. It was my sophomore year. After I came to the NBA and talked to a lot of players who had never gone to the Final Four, it makes you realize even more how hard it is to win the national title. You are privileged to do that. There are many people who don’t get that chance to accomplish and experience it. Every year that passes, it becomes even more special to be a part of history.”

How he chose his current uniform number of 1: “Going back to high school, I wore 21, but when I went to Syracuse, someone had it. So I decided to go to 1. I was always a big Penny Hardaway fan growing up, so that was the reason I chose to wear 1 at Syracuse. When I was an NBA rookie in Memphis, someone had 1, so I went back to 21. On the last few teams I’ve been on, including here, someone already had 21, so I went back to my college number.”

Something fans might be surprised to know about him: “I’m a great fantasy football owner. [laughs] For some reason, I am really, really good at it. I’m in two different leagues this year. This year I made sure I got Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham. I also have Victor Cruz. I always try to get Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski, because having that type of tight end is a huge advantage. They’re so far ahead of everyone else.”

Favorite thing about New Orleans: “It’s so much fun. You can always find something going on or a party. People are also very friendly. I grew up in Philly and am kind of a city guy. I’ve still got to get used to everyone saying good morning or hello down here. When people go out of their way to ask how your day is, I’m not used to that.” [laughs]

Pregame ritual: “I like to do a lot of the same things. If I’m listening to a certain CD, I’ll listen to it as long as we keep winning. On the road, I always eat a grilled chicken sandwich.”

First job: “I was a camp counselor in high school.”

Favorite athletes as a kid: “I was a big football fan and Warren Moon fan growing up. That’s also one reason why I wear 1. He wore it in the NFL as a quarterback.”

What he’d be doing if he weren’t an NBA player: “Probably something in the business field or managing a store. I majored at Syracuse in retail management.”

Closest friends currently playing on other NBA teams: “Carmelo Anthony, having been teammates with him at Syracuse. I’m also good friends with my former Memphis teammates Rudy Gay and Kyle Lowry (now with Toronto). Those are guys I came into the league with in Memphis. Kyle is also a Philadelphia guy like me.”

Favorite type of music: “Hip-hop and R&B. I’m more of an R&B guy nowadays than hip-hop. I guess I’m getting older. [smiles] So much of today’s hip-hop I’m not into. I like listening to older stuff.”

Favorite TV shows: “I was a big Entourage fan. I just got caught up on watching Sons of Anarchy on Netflix. Right now, that’s probably the only show I feel like I have to watch.”

Favorite movies of all time: “In comedy, it would be Coming to America. I also love war movies. I like 300, Braveheart, Gladiator, those type of movies. In action movies, I loved Dark Knight. That was one of the best movies of all time.”

Favorite websites: “Mediatakeout.com and ESPN.com are probably the only ones I consistently go to now.”