24 Seconds presented by Ibotta: Pelicans guard Kira Lewis Jr.
In early February, New Orleans rookie Kira Lewis Jr. joined Pelicans.com to discuss some of his background. He’s back for a second Q&A this week, this time sharing his thoughts and impressions on some of his Pelicans teammates and coaches:
Pelicans.com: Brandon Ingram mentioned that he’s impressed by the way you're coming in and you're on time, doing all the things that need to be done. The way he put it was he feels like you don't even realize it, but you are setting yourself up for success. Do you know exactly where you're going and what you want to accomplish?
Lewis: I know exactly what I want to be, I want to reach my maximum potential as a basketball player and as a person as well. So, it's stuff I’ve been doing my whole life, like second nature because of the way my parents brought me up – being on time, being respectful of people's time, and whatever you do, do it the best of your ability. So, it’s something that I’ve always been doing my whole life.
Pelicans.com: You first met Pelicans assistant coach Teresa Weatherspoon at Louisiana Tech, because your cousin played college basketball there. Did you know anything about T-Spoon before you met her at La. Tech, or have you just learned about her since then?
Lewis: When I first met her, my cousin told me that she was a great point guard. If (Weatherspoon) wasn’t in the Hall of Fame at the time, she was about to be in it, so I knew that she was a great player, but I really got to know what she was a person, really energetic, one of those people that can uplift you by just making you smile. She likes to do what she does with a passion, so she's a really good person. Again, I already knew she was a basketball player so that was something that I didn't have to think about. So, really once I found out who she was as a person, it was easygoing.
Pelicans.com: What were your first impressions of Stan Van Gundy?
Lewis: A good guy, really pays attention to details, defensive guy, old school, what we needed it because we are a young team. (The coaches emphasized keys compared to last season were) just having discipline, not turning the ball over, making sure we lessen our mistakes. So, he's a really good guy, he wants the best for you, he wants the best for the team. He’s really competitive and he has a great resume.
Pelicans.com: What was it like to come to a team that already has players like Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson and Lonzo Ball? Are you learning a lot from those guys?
Lewis: Oh yeah, just learning how they go about their days as basketball player, what they do when they don't practice, how they get better where they're doing individual workouts, what they do on their off days, how they recover with their body. And really just getting to see how they are off the court as well.
Pelicans.com: One word that keeps coming up about you is quickness. When did you realize that you had that gift?
Lewis: I realized I had that gift probably in high school, when I noticed that I would be going faster than some people that were running without the ball, and I’d just be pushing the ball out in front of me and I'd get past them real easy. And then once I just started racing people when I was younger and I just started beating them, even though they were older than me. I really started taking it into notice that I was fast probably in the 10th or 11th grade.
Pelicans.com: When did you first know that basketball is what you love to do?
Lewis: I started at a young age, probably around like 5 or 6. It was something I always did when I was in the house, I always had a ball dribbling outside, shooting on the hoop, watching players back then play at any level. It was always a joy to watch basketball and I played basketball, so I knew then and there that it was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life and make it to the highest level. It’s always been one of my first loves.
Peilcans.com: Was there a coach or a teammate or a relative who helped you along the way and means a lot in terms of your path?
Lewis: I would say my mom and dad, my cousin when she played for Coach Spoon. She was the same way, loved basketball her whole life. I tried to follow her footsteps in high school when she went to college, and I wanted to be the one that once I got to college, take it a step further and make it to the professional leagues. And she helped me along the way by keeping my head on straight and giving me valuable lessons that I needed to learn to get to this level.