24 Seconds presented by Ibotta: Naji Marshall
Rookie guard/forward Naji Marshall has been one of the best individual stories of the second half for New Orleans, moving into a rotation role and thriving, after he spent much of 2020-21 learning from the sideline or playing in the G League bubble. Undrafted out of Xavier (Ohio), Marshall signed a two-way contract with the Pelicans in December, then waited for an opportunity to contribute, which came in early April. The 23-year-old is the subject of this week’s Q&A:
Pelicans.com: How did you choose your uniform number of 8?
Marshall: Well, my real number is 13 (and what he wore in college), but out of the numbers that were available to pick from here, 8 was my favorite.
Pelicans.com: What’s one thing fans might be surprised to know about you?
Marshall: I’m a funny guy.
Pelicans.com: We were talking to your college coach, Travis Steele, on our podcast, and he said the same thing, that you’re very funny, but it takes really getting to know you in order to learn that.
Pelicans.com: What’s your favorite thing about New Orleans?
Marshall: I love it here. It’s a very chill vibe. Everybody is nice and the food is so good. They really show love to the sports teams – everywhere you go, someone has on Pelicans or Saints gear, which is cool to see as a pro athlete. Overall, it’s a beautiful city, especially when you go downtown. I didn’t know there were palm trees here, for example. It’s been cool to be here.
Pelicans.com: Who was your favorite athlete as a kid?
Marshall: Allen Iverson.
Pelicans.com: What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t an NBA player?
Marshall: Probably a boxer.