CJ McCollum is a leader in more ways than one for the New Orleans Pelicans and his fellow players, as the current President of the NBA Players Association. The 31-year-old guard, who’s in his 10th pro season, is the guest for Pelicans.com’s weekly “24 Seconds” Q&A on the site:
Pelicans.com: Top three favorite road cities?
McCollum: Toronto, Miami, Los Angeles.
Pelicans.com: Top three favorite sports other than basketball?
McCollum: Football, and the rest are just there. Little bit of soccer. I watch tennis every now and then and I love going to baseball games for the experience.
Pelicans.com: Top three vacation spots?
McCollum: Europe. I’ll just say Europe in general, I don’t even want to name places. Europe, South Africa. Turks and Caicos.
Pelicans.com: Who enforces rookie duties?
McCollum: I came in kind of late (last season), so I didn’t really enforce anything. I think they already had some things in place in terms of food on the plane. I think (for rookies) that’s just a rite of passage. We won’t really make (rookies) do much. It’s not what it used to be.
Pelicans.com: When you boil it down, what do you love the most about basketball?
McCollum: I love the process, the work. I love what goes into it. The games are great to be able to show up to the game, knowing that you’re prepared, knowing that you work, knowing you sacrificed. I think that’s the cool part, because what you do in the dark comes to light. So it’s like art, you know what I mean? You cook, the preparation for the meal is not always the flattering part, right? It’s when you get to eat the food. And for us, the finished product is fans being able to see us play, us being able to put on a show, knowing that we put in all that time, all that work, all that sacrifice.
Pelicans.com: You signed a contract extension before the season. How important was that to get that done?
McCollum: It was extremely important for us to get an extension done before the season started. I didn’t want to become a distraction. I wanted to show that I was invested equally in this team, this community, this franchise, as they are with me. I credit Griff, Trajan, Swin, Mrs. Benson and the executive staff for believing in me, for trading for me, for giving me a chance to come in here and not only show my worth, but show that I’m worthy of impacting a city like this and to show that I care. That I’m truly invested and willing to work hard and do whatever it takes for us to be successful, but also willing to embrace this beautiful place. I’ve said a lot of things, but I think it’s more about your actions. And I think my actions follow all the things that I’ve said I would do and stand for. And I think the organization has done the same for me and my family. Talking about what it would be like before we got here to what it’s actually been like, they’ve been spot on. So I commend them for that and am thankful to be able to play here alongside the guys that I’m playing with, but also while being coached by someone with the character that Willie (Green) has.