Pelicans forward Wesley Johnson

Off the Court: Pelicans forward Wesley Johnson

by Jim Eichenhofer

After spending the previous five seasons in Los Angeles – split between the Lakers and Clippers – Wesley Johnson joined the New Orleans roster Oct. 15, as part of a trade just before tip-off of the regular season. The native of the Dallas area and Syracuse University product joined to discuss his background and interests away from basketball:

Best moments as an athlete: “My first two points in the NBA, I dunked on someone. Helping Jim Boeheim get his 800th career win at Syracuse. Getting drafted into the NBA.”

How he chose his current uniform number of 33: “Scottie Pippen was my favorite player, just because he did everything on the court. He wasn’t one-dimensional. That’s the reason behind that.”

Hidden talent: “I like to draw.”

Favorite thing about New Orleans: “The culture, the heartbeat here. People are very loving. The music is great. I used to come here when I was younger and could feel that everyone has a passion for New Orleans. It was cool to come here and be able to enjoy it as a grownup.”

Pregame ritual: “I always talk to my family before every game, and text them right after we do our team meeting. My parents and my wife.”

First job: “Working at a grocery store. I worked there for a week. I was bagging groceries, and sweeping the floors. After a week that was enough.” [laughs]

Favorite athlete as a kid: “I watched a lot of track and field, so it was Michael Johnson. I ran track and did the long jump, triple jump, 200 and 400.”

What he’d be doing if he weren’t an NBA player: “Doing something with kids, or something with architecture, because it’s fascinating to me how people are able to use math to figure out building structures.”

Favorite type of music: “R&B and hip-hop from the 1990s. Jay-Z, J Cole, Kendrick Lamar.”

Favorite TV show: “I watch everything, from Ozark, to Shameless, Sons of Anarchy.”

Favorite movies of all time: “I’m a big moviehead. I don’t think I can even narrow it down.” [laughs]

Favorite websites: “I play a domino app game with my friends back home or just random people. Other than that, I use FaceTime a lot to see my kids. I have four kids – twin boys who are 6, my baby girl who is 4 and a 1-year-old boy. They live in Los Angeles now, but will be coming to New Orleans soon.”

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