Growing Up ... J.J. Hickson

They’ve always had talent, but what were the Cavaliers like before they became rich and gigantic and famous?

When the Cavaliers played a preseason game in Columbus, J.J. Hickson was warming up as Ohio State players watched. If J.J. had stayed at North Carolina State, he would be playing against those kids right now. Instead, Hickson has made a big leap with Cleveland, with the third-year forward nearly doubling his scoring average.

At just 22, he’s already one of the Wine and Gold’s young leaders.

J.J. is the Cavaliers’ strong, silent type. But he took a minute after practice for today’s installment of Growing Up -- where he talks about his foray into football, his best coach and the fact that he actually may not be done growing up …

I’ve never had … a growth spurt, actually. I’ve just always been tall.

I’m probably still … up for one.

I played football … for a few years – 7th, 8th, 9th grade.

I was a … tight end and defensive end. You know how it is for tall people – they play us at defensive end. I was ok, but basketball kind of worked out for me.

In football … I didn’t like to get hit in the knees at all. And my grandmother didn’t like it either.

My best coach coming up was … my school coach, Doug Lipscomb. He was a player’s coach. He interacted well with the players. He was more of a father figure than a coach.

Playing in the NBA was … was always my dream, probably from when I was 10 or 11 years old. But when I got to the 11th grade, that’s when it really hit me that it could happen.

My first ever dunk … was on my street where I lived on the outside court. Somebody actually threw me a lob and I went and got it.

It was crazy, because ... I was so big but nobody had ever seen me dunk.