Off the Court: Pelicans forward/center Julius Randle

by Jim Eichenhofer
@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 Pelicans.com:

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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