Jaxson Hayes on Media Day 2021

Off the Court 2021-22: Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes

Given that fishing is one of his favorite hobbies away from basketball, Jaxson Hayes landed in an ideal location when he was acquired by New Orleans 2 1/2 years ago. Now in his third season as a Crescent City resident, Hayes sounds like he’s taking full advantage of Louisiana being known as “Sportsman’s Paradise,” frequently partaking in his love of angling. The son of former NFL tight end and assistant coach Jonathan Hayes, the 21-year-old grew up in Ohio partly because of his dad’s role with the Cincinnati Bengals. Jaxson discussed his background and interests with Pelicans.com:

Best moments as an athlete: “When I got drafted in 2019, having my family there. Also when I won Big 12 Freshman of the Year, that was a big moment for me.”

How he chose his current uniform number of 10: “When I went to Texas, I wanted to be No. 15, but that jersey number was retired, so I switched to 10. When I got to the Pelicans, I was going to switch back to 15, but Frank Jackson was using it, so I just stuck with 10.”

One thing fans might be surprised to know about him: “That I go fishing four to five times a week. I go out to the lake and I like catching bass probably the most. I’m a big bass fisherman. I have a few other little spots I go to around NOLA.”

Favorite thing about New Orleans: “Definitely the people and the food. The people are super nice down here and have embraced me since I got drafted. The food is just amazing.”

Pregame ritual: “I always take a nap before every game. And then give me some pasta or food right before the game.”

First job: “I was a babysitter, and then I was a busboy at a restaurant.”

Favorite athlete as a kid: “Probably (NFL wide receiver) A.J. Green. My dad coached for the Cincinnati Bengals, so I was always around A.J. He just helped me out and is a really good dude. I loved watching him play.”

What he’d be doing if he weren’t an NBA player: “I’d be a real estate agent, or just a fisherman.”

Closest friends currently playing on other NBA teams: “Definitely (Detroit guard) Frank Jackson. I miss my guy; he was with us my rookie year. Jrue Holiday, Lonzo Ball, my guy Talen Horton-Tucker for the Lakers. Jericho Sims was my old college teammate and Miles McBride was my old high school teammate. They both play for the Knicks.”

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