Pelicans News: CJ McCollum to give speech at Lehigh graduation

CJ McCollum, Lehigh University. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
CJ McCollum, Lehigh University. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

Despite the New Orleans Pelicans’ season being over, veteran guard CJ McCollum’s work is never done.

The President of the National Basketball Player’s Association (NBPA) will be delivering the address at Lehigh’s 155th undergraduate spring commencement on Sunday, May 21st, 2023. McCollum is a proud member of Lehigh’s Class of 2013.

College basketball aficionados will recall McCollum’s four-year run with Lehigh. One that included an improbable March Madness upset over the storied Duke Blue Devils in 2012. The 15th-seeded Lehigh Mountain Hawks defeated Duke 75-70 behind a vintage McCollum performance. A showing in which he contributed 30 points, six rebounds, six assists, and two steals.

This victory – arguably the greatest win in program history – portended what was to come for McCollum as it pertained to his career in the NBA. McCollum was, and has continued to be since then, one of the most gifted scorers on the planet. Over his illustrious ten season NBA career, McCollum has posted eight seasons of averaging 20 PPG or more.

Of course, McCollum is so much more than just a great basketball player. While at Lehigh, McCollum majored in journalism and was even an editor for the school newspaper. And although he’s not working full-time in media (yet), McCollum is leveraging the skills he acquired during his studies in his role as the President of the NBPA.

Along with his work on the court and with the NBPA, McCollum is also engaged in multiple philanthropic endeavors, including a program called “CJ’s Press Pass Program,” where he offers high school students opportunities to learn more about the field of journalism.

As for his speech at Lehigh’s undergraduate graduation, McCollum is ecstatic about the opportunity.

“It’s an honor for me to be back on Lehigh’s campus and to be asked to give the commencement speech 10 years after my own graduation,” McCollum told Lehigh reporters. “Lehigh has had such a profound impact on the trajectory of my life; I honed my skills as a player, developed personally as a man, and met my wife there. I’m excited to send the next class of Mountain Hawks off to start their very bright futures.”

McCollum appeared 75 games in 2022-23, averaging 20.9 PPG and 5.7 APG in his first full season with the Pelicans.

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