Off the Court: Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball’s first season in New Orleans has mirrored that of the Pelicans, featuring a rough start as Ball battled injuries, but then transforming into the best results for him individually and team-wise of his three-year NBA career. Although he’s been a household hoops name for a number of years, it’s easy to forget that Ball is still only 22, the fifth-youngest player on a New Orleans roster that features 10 players with less than three full seasons of NBA experience. Born in Anaheim and a native of Chino Hills, Calif., Ball was a Lakers lottery pick in 2017 after one standout season at UCLA. As a result, 2019-20 is the first basketball season of his life that he’s spent outside the Golden State. Ball discussed some of his interests away from basketball with Pelicans.com, including a passion for music:

Best moments as an athlete: “Making it to the NBA. I played basketball my whole life – since I was 6 years old – so getting to the highest level you can reach is my best moment.”

How he chose his current uniform number of 2: “I’ve been No. 2 my whole life. It started when I was a kid in school. My last name is Ball, so I was always second in line (alphabetically). So that’s how I came up with 2.”

One thing fans might be surprised to know about him: “I’ve been in the media for a long time now. I’m pretty sure fans know everything that there is to know.” [smiles]

Favorite thing about New Orleans: “The food.”

Pregame ritual: “Listen to music, then go out and play.”

Favorite athlete as a kid: “LeBron James.”

All-time NBA starting five: “Magic at the 1, Jordan at the 2, LeBron at the 3, Kevin Durant at 4, Shaq at the 5.”

Most memorable moment in the NBA: “Getting drafted.”

Most surprising thing about the NBA as a rookie: “Probably the schedule. It’s completely different than college.”

Most underrated player in the NBA: “It’s for sure Jrue Holiday.”

Best uniforms in the NBA (besides the Pelicans’): “Atlanta Hawks.”

Favorite NBA arena: “Smoothie King Center.”

Favorite NBA road trip, based on the city: “Miami.”

What he’d be doing if he weren’t an NBA player: “I’d probably try to be a rapper.”

Professional sport he’d play besides basketball: “Football. I’d probably play quarterback.”

First job: “I used to wash cars for like $5.”

Subject he’s knowledgeable about besides basketball: “Music. I listen to a lot of music daily.”

Favorite musical artist: “Future.”

How he’s most likely to spend a day off during the season: “Chilling with my daughter and my dog.”

Biggest lesson learned from basketball: “That it’s more than a game. Basketball saves a lot of people. It keeps you out of trouble.”

Favorite exercises besides basketball: “Growing up I ran hills. In Chino Hills, there is a hill you can run on every corner, so that’s what I did.”

How he describes his hometown: “It’s small, pretty quiet, but the neighborhood was cool. I grew up playing football, basketball, baseball with all of the kids on the block. It was a lot of fun.

Favorite Christmas gift: “One year I got a dog. That was my best gift ever.”

Story behind his unique tattoos: “Every tattoo means something to me. People like the portraits on my left arm. I got it because of black excellence. I’ve been through a lot the last couple years, but it’s nothing compared to what they went through. I just look at my arm and get motivated. All of my tattoos have meaning, so I can’t pick a favorite one. The first one I got was on my wrist. (It reads) “Motivated by Jesus, dedicated to the game.”