Off the Court: Pelicans forward/center Julius Randle

by Jim Eichenhofer

A native of Dallas, free-agent signee Julius Randle will get to visit his hometown slightly more regularly now, playing for New Orleans in the NBA’s Southwest Division. Randle has already been a professional for four seasons, but he’s still only 23 years old, having been a Los Angeles Lakers lottery pick after a single college season at the University of Kentucky. Randle becomes the latest in a long group of former Wildcats to play for the Pelicans, including current roster members Anthony Davis and Darius Miller. Randle discussed his background and interests beyond basketball recently with

Best moments as an athlete: “In high school, winning state championships. In college, playing for a national championship in my hometown was very cool. Getting drafted into the NBA, then playing with my idol growing up, Kobe Bryant. And now, being here in this situation is a great moment in my career.”

How he chose his current uniform number of 30: “My mom played basketball, so I went to her one day and asked if I could have her number. I’ve been wearing it for a long time, since I was about 10 years old.”

One thing fans might be surprised to know about him: “I’m nice in ping-pong and I’m nice in regular tennis. So if anyone wants to challenge me, we can get it going.” [smiles]

Favorite thing about New Orleans: “I love the culture here. Everyone is really, really nice. New Orleans has its own little flair and how things operate.”

Pregame ritual: “I always eat chicken alfredo pregame, take a nap and vibe out in the car on the way to the arena, try to be laidback and relaxed. Also, I always go to pregame chapel.”

Favorite athlete as a kid: “Kobe Bryant. I tried to do everything he did, studied everything he did, tried to work like him.”

What he’d be doing if he weren’t an NBA player: “I have a lot of different interests. I like fashion, real estate, business and marketing. But I’d still love to be around the sport of basketball, even if I wasn’t playing.”

Closest friends currently playing on other NBA teams: “Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance of Cleveland, who were guys I came into the NBA with on the Lakers. Also, Brandon Ingram of the Lakers. Plus a couple other guys I played with in college at Kentucky like Dakari Johnson (played for Oklahoma City last season) and Willie Cauley-Stein of Sacramento.”

Favorite type of music: “I love hip-hop and am very big on R&B. My favorite artists are Drake, Jay-Z, Travis Scott. I could go on forever with my list of favorite artists.”

Favorite TV show of all time: “I broke my leg in my rookie year, so I had a lot of time to catch up on everything. Entourage is probably my No. 1 show, especially because I was in Los Angeles at the time, where the show was based. I loved The Fresh Prince. Among current shows, I have been watching Snowfall, El Chapo, Power, Suits, Billions and Ballers.”

Favorite movie of all time: “American Gangster.”

Favorite phone apps: “Twitter, Instagram. I’ve been trying to get into Headspace, which is a meditation app.”


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