NBA Superlatives: Pelicans guard Ian Clark

by Jim Eichenhofer

Ian Clark traveled an unconventional path to get to the NBA, playing college basketball at Belmont University in his home state of Tennessee, then going undrafted in 2013. He now has one NBA championship ring, after filling a key reserve role for the 2016-17 Golden State Warriors. As Clark noted to recently during the ’17 preseason, he also has the same number of slam dunks during his five-year NBA career:

Most memorable moment in the NBA: “Winning an NBA championship.”

Most memorable dunk in the NBA: “My only dunk – I don’t dunk a lot. [smiles] It was a fast break two years ago with Golden State; we were playing at home against Sacramento. Klay Thompson passed it to me and I caught it in stride. The guys didn’t think I was going to dunk it, but the whole time down the court I knew I wanted to. Everyone was hyped up.”

Most embarrassing moment in the NBA: “As a rookie, they made us get our nails done. We were in a mall and doing a preseason community event where we greeted people who were coming through. Rudy Gobert and I had to get our nails done in the mall and wear them to practice the next day. We couldn’t take it off until after practice.”

Most surprising thing about the NBA as a rookie: “The grind. The travel and being able to manage your time. You have so much time here to do what you want, but you have to condense it, to make sure you’re in the gym at a certain time. You have to learn how to balance getting your sleep in and being at home.”

Toughest player to face at his position: “Stephen Curry is a hard guy to guard and can do so many different things. Chris Paul and all the very good point guards are tough.”

Best uniforms in the NBA (besides the Pelicans’): “I like Orlando’s classic black uniforms with their pinstripes.”

Favorite road arenas: “Memphis, because it’s home for me so I like playing there. Oklahoma City is loud and those fans there are crazy. I also like Oracle Arena, because of the loud fans.”

Favorite road trip, based on the city: “New York. There are so many good places to eat and personally, I like the vibe there. I’m obviously from the South, but being up in the North there, the way they do things is just different.”