Jordan Crawford of the New Orleans Pelicans took some time to answer ten questions, and we used them to dive into his journey back to the NBA. For the entire conversation, download the podcast below:
Meet Jordan Crawford, one of the newest members of an ever changing New Orleans Pelicans’ roster.
Think you know him? Well, you should by now!
After all, we did our own take six weeks ago on some of the things Jordan has experienced in his brief and yet traveled NBA career.
The things we know:
The New Orleans Pelicans are the eighth NBA franchise to hold Jordan’s rights, including New Jersey, Atlanta, Washington, Boston, Golden State and offseason ball with Dallas and Chicago.
We know that Jordan transferred high schools and we know that Jordan transferred colleges (Indiana to Xavier).
We know that our feel good story of 2017 is back in the NBA to stay, contract in hand, a well earned victory after a three year hiatus from the greatest show on earth.
What we don’t know:
What it took to get here.
Thanks to Jordan, and to his press representative Mia Fields, of Simply Human, I had a chance to sit with the two of them and hear of Jordan’s journey from journeyman, to the D-League, to China and back to the NBA:
Your agent, Darrell Cormer of ASM Sports described your first day in a Pelicans’ uniform as “pure adrenaline.” You boarded a five AM flight from Atlanta, and landed in Salt Lake City at 2pm on the day of your first NBA game in almost three years. How could you possibly prepare for what had to be an emotional and exhausting day?
“I was still in the moment. I took it slowly through the day, because I knew I had a game that night. It was also a comfortable arena for me. I played there in the NCAA tournament for Xavier, and I always liked the Utah arena so, I felt good just thinking about everything, really. Taking it all in, smiling on the inside, but on the outside staying calm. And then when the game started, just trying to be me.”
Shortly after joining the team, DeMarcus Cousins dubbed you “Instant Grits,” in an interview, and the name spread like wildfire. The city has literally lost its mind as we usually do on “Diamond in the Rough type players” who come in and make an instant impact (Beer Man, Ironhead, Mighty Mouse). How much of a response have you heard from Pelicans’ fans and what do you think of the nick name?
“Aw man I like it, it’s slick, for him to say it off the brain like that, in terms of what it means and how I approach the game, it was all good and I think everybody enjoyed it.”
Have you even had a chance to settle in yet? This all must have happened so quickly. Have you found a permanent place to stay yet, and more importantly, do you have a favorite restaurant?
“I don’t have a place to stay, I was in a hotel the whole time. I didn’t have a car, so I didn’t get to enjoy the city the way I wanted to, but the people I did run into were very welcoming. Good vibes, but don’t really have a restaurant.
"I don’t have a place to stay, I was in a hotel the whole time."
I was going to Ruth Chris a lot just because it was close. That’s something I would like to figure out.”
In your four years of NBA experience, you were traded four times from New Jersey to Atlanta on draft night, to Washington, to Boston and finally to Golden State. After spending three years fighting your way back, did it ever feel as if you’d never find a permanent place in the NBA?
“Of course at times it felt like that. I took it as everybody’s route is different. I got a brother that’s a professional basketball player, and growing up and watching his career play out, you just take it in, you take the challenge.
That’s the life of being a professional athlete, and I think with the strong family I have and the support system I got made it a lot easier, and allowed me to enjoy the ride. It was all a team effort.”
In the next two years you found yourself in China twice (Xianjang, and Tianjin), in the D League twice, scored 72 points in a game, and received a nice offer to play in Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Did the thought ever cross your mind, hey I’ve got a good thing going over here. Rather than struggle to earn a roster spot, why not try to win a championship and dominate in Euro-leagues?
“There’s a lot of good basketball and money situation all over the world, and I had the opportunity to try some of those out in terms of china. As my career was going on I had a lot of thought as to what I wanted to do.
"I found out along the road to follow your heart, if you believe, and sometimes it may not happen, but I wanted to take on the challenge."
This year going into the D-League, playing Euro-League for the first time, I wanted to try that basketball out, so it was just the choosing and making a decision. I enjoyed that part. I really enjoyed the business side of the decisions as well, where to go, where to stay, I found out along the road to follow your heart, if you believe, and sometimes it may not happen, but I wanted to take on the challenge.
I’m entering the prime of my career, I wanted to go to the D-league and showcase my abilities, rather than follow the money.”
More from Pelicans News
- How will the Pelicans round out rotation without Trey Murphy III
- Why you can’t blame Brandon Ingram for all Team USA’s failures
- New Orleans Pelicans avoid potential disaster with latest injury reports
- 3 New Orleans Pelicans whose role will increase next season
- Pelicans getting the fans involved with their upcoming festival
Talk bout your relationship with Darrell Cormer of ASM sports. How integral has he been in getting you back into NBA circles and how did his work help you get this opportunity?
“He’s been important from a strategic standpoint. The support, how we planned out going to the D -League, the minicamps, getting my rights traded to get to the Grand Rapids.
He allowed me to see down the road, and we planned together on things. We had great communication and executed the plan. We knew we had a history in the league so we had to approach it differently than other D-League players.
You know you have someone working as hard as you off the court and that’s what you need in this business: Someone expressing what you need for you.”
Okay, back to Pelicans basketball. After the Boogie trade the Pelicans came out to a very rocky 2-6 start. They lacked firepower, scoring and turned the ball over at a pretty substantial rate. You came onto the team and immediately gave them the outside shooting that they needed. Talk about what the coaches and the players said to you in the beginning of your career in New Orleans, and how did it feel knowing those guys wanted you to succeed?
“It was big, first of all they welcomed me. It was a very comfortable situation in terms of supporting me, passing me the ball and believing in me, something I think everyone needs to survive and be successful in the NBA.
They definitely allowed me to be myself, and I wanted all of them to be happy with my play, and the only way to do that is to get some wins and we got a couple. I think me coming helped Boogie and AD because it allowed the defense to not key in on them so much. They did a great job of being unselfish, allowing me to create out there. It was all a great feel.”
How much do you keep in touch with your former D-League teammates in Fort Wayne and Grand Rapids? You’ve got a couple of guys on your team who have spent time there as well in Quinn Cook, Cheick Diallo, Axel Toupane. Do these guys look up to you? What do you tell these guys having been in their shoes?
“I definitely communicate with them. D-League is a major route to the NBA now, but when I came in, you didn’t want to do it. Being a guy who was in the NBA and now in the D-League, you want to connect with them and let them know that they’re on the right path, let them know your experiences, and let them express the way they naturally do.
I think that’s important. You gotta let them be them, and when they come to you, you just gotta lead them in the right direction. Everybody in the league needs advice from different people. I think it’s important that you give that back and allow them to be themselves.”
Now that you have established this maturity as a veteran and leader, what would you say to your younger self in the league to help lead younger Jordan Crawford to the right path?
“Number one, patience. Patience is important. It was a blessing in disguise leaving the NBA, and find out, who are you outside of basketball? I wanted to come into the league and be all about basketball. And after leaving the league, having all these great people around me, you can see how I was getting too excited about basketball, not focusing on life in general. That lesson was important for me.”
"Number one, patience. Patience is important. It was a blessing in disguise leaving the NBA, and find out, who are you outside of basketball?"
A few weeks ago, you ended any comeback attempts by Seth Curry and the Dallas Mavericks with a corner jumper with 47 seconds left, essentially a game winner. Since being a Pelican, what is one of your favorite moments?
“One of my favorite moments was the first game. How it happened, being in Utah, an arena that I like, and a place I had a lot of experience in. That had to be my favorite moment.
After all I had been through, being on this court, knowing that I could just play. I think that was one of my favorite moments, knowing how it was for everybody else that was close to me. I think they were even more excited than me.”
Again thank you so much for your time. Talk me through your offseason plans, obviously basketball related, though you might need a vacation as well after the roller coaster ride this year has been. When do you start meeting with coaches, and do you have an offseason regimen you’re already excited to get to?
“It’s continuous. Something that you don’t really stop, you just do it at a slower pace. You got time to recover, get your body back to close to 100%, that’s one of the most important parts of being an athlete.
For me in general, get everything together from vacations, stuff off the court, with foundations and things that I can get connected to is good, just helping out the youth and giving back I think is good. You want to just connect to everybody and take advantage of the moment I’m in and the platform I have. And I just want to continue it.”
Any chance we’ll see you in Orlando or Las Vegas at summer leagues?
“Definitely a possibility. I want to be around the team and the guys, and coaches, and keep building on something, and bring the city of New Orleans better basketball.”