Off the Court: Pelicans guard Ian Clark

by Jim Eichenhofer

New Orleans free-agent signee Ian Clark was born and raised about 400 miles north of the Crescent City, a native of Memphis. After attending high school in Germantown, Tenn., he remained in-state for college and enjoyed a decorated career at Belmont University in Nashville. The 26-year-old Volunteer State product sat down with recently to discuss his background and some of his interests away from basketball:

Best moment as an athlete: “Winning an NBA championship last season with Golden State. That’s definitely the first thing on the list.”

How he chose his current uniform number of 2: “Before I signed, Darius Miller had already signed and he picked 21, which is the number I usually wear. I asked a lot of people which number I should go with, and kind of came up with 2, because it’s kind of close (in how it looks on a uniform) to 21. The funny part of the story is Darius actually used to wear 2, but picked 21 this time.”

One thing fans might be surprised to know about him: “I’m a really good chess player.”

Favorite thing about New Orleans: “The food and the diversity of it here. The seafood is my favorite.”

Pregame ritual: “I always pray before every game. That’s something I make sure I do before tip-off.”

Favorite athlete as a kid: “Penny Hardaway. He was from Memphis, kind of a hometown hero. He was a guy I always looked up to while I was growing up. He’s actually a high school basketball coach in Memphis now and just won a state championship.”

What he’d be doing if he weren’t an NBA player: “I’d do something with my degree in business management. I’d probably transfer it into sports marketing or sports management. I’d stay around the game.”

Closest friends currently playing on other NBA teams or in other pro sports: “Rudy Gobert is one of my closest friends; we came in the league together as rookies with Utah. He’s a guy I can talk to all the time. In the NFL, (former Denver and Baltimore wide receiver) Marlon Brown is a guy from Memphis who I played with in AAU basketball. Also, Bennie Fowler, a receiver for the Broncos.”

Favorite type of music: “I like hip-hop and R&B; my favorite artist is J. Cole. Obviously I like music that gets me hype before the games, but the music I listen to every day is J. Cole.”

Favorite TV shows: “Game of Thrones is my favorite series. It’s coming to an end, so I’m kind of upset about that, but I can watch that all the time. I also like Martin, and the Jamie Foxx Show.”

Favorite movies of all time: “The Friday movies, Space Jam, all of the Rush Hour movies.”

Favorite phone apps: “Snapchat, Instagram, all the social media ones. I like being able to interact with other people and all of my friends.”