Off the Court: Pelicans forward/guard E’Twaun Moore

Things tend to come full circle in the NBA. After beginning his NBA career as a young player on a veteran-laden Boston team, E’Twaun Moore, 31, is now a veteran player on a young New Orleans team. Moore’s experience and demeanor led to him being referred to as “Uncle E” during the 2019-20 season, a player highly-respected by his teammates. Speaking of coming full circle, as a Boston rookie Moore looked up to Celtics players such as point guard Rajon Rando; the following season Moore played for Orlando and took pointers and advice from Magic point guard Jameer Nelson. Moore, who signed with the Pelicans as a free agent in summer 2016, ended up rejoining both Rondo and Nelson as teammates during the 2017-18 campaign. New Orleans posted a 48-34 record that season and advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in a decade. Moore joined Pelicans.com to discuss his background and passions away from basketball:

How he chose his current uniform number of 55: “I was the 55th pick in the draft, so it gives me a little motivation. Of course, I wanted to go higher than that. It helps me remember that. Also, my high school jersey number was 22 and my college number was 33. So 22 plus 33 equals 55.”

One thing fans might be surprised to know about him: “A lot of people think I’m quiet, but I’m not actually quiet, I’m just laidback. I like to talk. So that’s probably a misconception. I like to have fun.”

Subject he is knowledgeable about besides basketball: “I have a lot of Air Force 1 (sneakers) and have a big collection. My teammates always joke about it and say, ‘Which Air Force 1 are you going to wear today?’ ”

Biggest lessons he learned from basketball: “Hard work and teamwork. There will always be a time when you need someone to rely on, to help you get things done. Also, to accomplish something, you’ve got to work hard to achieve your goals.”

Professional sport he’d try to play besides basketball: “Probably football. When I was growing up, it was one of my favorite sports. I used to play quarterback.”

What he’s most likely to do with a day off during the season: “Spend it with my daughter, doing something fun. I just got her into softball, so maybe play some of that.”

Players who had the biggest impact on his game: “Rajon Rondo and Jameer Nelson. My first two years in the NBA (with Boston and Orlando), I learned from them and they took me under their wing. Then what was crazy was I later got to play with both of them on the same team (New Orleans in 2017-18). You’re always feeding off their energy and their knowledge. They are very smart guys. I learned a lot from them.”

Biggest mentors: “My brother helps me out a lot. Any time I have any ideas, I always run them by him. Also one of my high school coaches is a basketball fanatic. He’s been there for me throughout my basketball journey.”

How he describes his hometown: “East Chicago (Ind.) is a basketball- and sports-driven town. Growing up, everything always revolved around basketball. That’s a hard-working, gritty, steel-mill town too. There are a lot of hard-working people. I miss it. I do a lot back in my community whenever I can.”

Most underrated player in the NBA: “I think I’m the most underrated player in the NBA! [smiles] I’m one of those guys in the background who helps a team win and contributes to the success of a team.”

Most surprising thing about the NBA as a rookie: “The lifestyle difference. In college, you’re around guys your same age. But I was playing for Boston, so I had guys who were 35 or 36 and had kids who were already grown. That was one of the shockers for me coming into the NBA.”

Most memorable moment in the NBA: “Competing in the playoffs. It’s one of the most fun parts of the year. Everyone’s goal is to make the playoffs. Playing in that atmosphere – with everyone excited – is just super exciting.”

Favorite exercises besides basketball: “Yoga and boxing.”

Favorite healthy food: “Smoothies. My favorite smoothie is strawberry peanut butter.”

Favorite musical artist: “Jay-Z. My favorite song is Somehow Someway.”