Derrick Favors on Media Day

Off the Court: Pelicans center Derrick Favors

by Jim Eichenhofer

The 2019-20 season marked a major change for New Orleans trade acquisition Derrick Favors. After spending nearly his entire NBA career in the Mountain time zone while playing for the Utah Jazz for 8.5 years, Favors was dealt to the Pelicans, moving back to the South for the first time since he played college basketball at Georgia Tech a decade ago. The Atlanta native stayed home by choosing the ACC school, but was only a member of the Yellowjackets for one season, having been an extremely coveted high school prospect. The 28-year-old Favors, who was the third pick of the 2010 NBA Draft by the then-New Jersey Nets, discussed his background with

How he chose his current uniform number of 22: “My original number was 15 in Utah, but when I came to New Orleans one of the other players (Frank Jackson) had it, so I decided to go with 22, because my son’s birthday is July 22.”

One thing fans might be surprised to know about him: “I’m a fun guy to be around. I joke a lot. I like to have fun and just enjoy the game.”

Pregame ritual: “I must take a two-hour nap. When I wake up, I’ll get a shower, then meditate for about 10 minutes. I head to the gym and listen to my playlist until the game starts.”

First job: “Taking the trash out at my mom’s house. That and warming up the car up when it was wintertime. Sometimes I raked leaves. Little household chores.”

Favorite athlete as a kid: “Michael Vick. I’m from Atlanta, so I watched the Falcons a lot. He was a guy I watched every Sunday. I almost wanted to be a football player because of that, but I got too tall and I didn’t like taking the hits, so I just kept to basketball.” [laughs]

Favorite childhood basketball memories: “I remember walking down the street and finding this old basketball book, a children’s book that was about Kobe Bryant. I just fell in love with basketball ever since. It was like destiny, pretty much. I still have that book back at home.”

Biggest lessons from basketball: “Teamwork, being unselfish, being disciplined, staying motivated.”

Favorite exercises besides basketball: “Going hiking, running in the park. I swim a lot. There are a number of things you can do.”

Subject he’s knowledgeable about besides basketball: “I was a very big comic-book reader growing up. My uncle collected comic books, and he thought I needed more books to read – I was playing video games a lot, so he let me read the books he wasn’t reading. As a kid, reading those stories, it amazed me and so I became a big fan of the comic-book world and Marvel, DC stuff.”

Nicknames: “In my old neighborhood back in Atlanta, they used to call me ‘Sticks,’ because I used to be really skinny. In the NBA, everyone calls me ‘D Fave.’ ”

Favorite healthy foods: “A lot of fruits, a lot of vegetables. I like kale, spinach, bananas, peaches, mangos, beets, cauliflower, broccoli. The only two things I don’t like are squash and black-eyed peas.”

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