NBA Superlatives: Pelicans forward/center Julius Randle

by Jim Eichenhofer

After four seasons as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers – which included two years as a teammate with one of his basketball idols, Kobe Bryant – Julius Randle signed with New Orleans in July, early in the free-agency period. The 23-year-old, who came to the NBA after one college season at Kentucky, put together career highs in various categories in 2017-18, averaging 16.1 points and shooting 55.8 percent from the field. He sat down with recently to provide some of his perspective about the NBA as he entered Year 5 as a pro:

Most memorable moment in the NBA: “One of the coolest things was playing in Kobe Bryant’s last game (when Bryant scored 60 points vs. Utah in April 2016).”

Most memorable dunk in the NBA: “Last year at home vs. Milwaukee. Khris Middleton was on me and I drove by him, then dunked over Tyler Zeller. I really wasn’t even planning on dunking; I was planning to lay it in, but Zeller jumped and I got him. In the second half, I got him again, almost on the exact same kind of play.”

Most embarrassing moment in the NBA: “One time I rolled the ball in to try to save time on the game clock, but my teammate wasn’t looking and kicked it out of bounds or something weird like that.”

Most surprising thing about the NBA as a rookie: “How fast preseason games started. You’re used to practicing for a month, month and a half before games began in high school or college. You get to the NBA and we practiced for maybe three days and they were like, ‘OK, first preseason game is tomorrow.’ I had no clue. I was like, ‘Wait, we play a game tomorrow?’ ” [laughs]

Toughest player to face at his position: “Anthony Davis has always been one of the toughest, because of his size, speed, length, the whole package. LaMarcus Aldridge is extremely tough.”

Most underrated players in the NBA: “Jrue Holiday is one of them for sure. He gets you 20 every night and he’s First-Team All-Defense. Anybody else who does that would be an All-Star every year. Victor Oladipo was another underrated guy for a while.”

Best uniforms in the NBA (besides the Pelicans’): “Charlotte has some great retro uniforms. The Miami Vice uniforms the Heat wore last season were super dope. I also liked the 76ers’ retro ones.”

Favorite road arenas: “Philadelphia was like this for the first time last season, but it was absolutely the most fun game I played in (during 2017-18). That arena and those fans, bringing out that young team, was a crazy fun atmosphere. I always love playing in Boston, too. But my all-time favorite is playing in Madison Square Garden.”

Favorite road trips, based on the city: “Miami and New York.”


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