Off the Court: Pelicans forward Jalen Jones

Dallas native Jalen Jones joins the New Orleans Pelicans organization as a two-way contract signee, after spending 2016-17 as a member of the G League’s Maine Red Claws, a Boston Celtics affiliate. The 24-year-old remained in-state for college, developing into a star player at Texas A&M. Jones recently joined to discuss his background and some of his interests away from the game:

Best moment as an athlete: “In college at Texas A&M, we came back against Northern Iowa from down 12 points in the final 44 seconds, to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. I just remember fans leaving the gym, and guys on the bench looking like the season was over. The seniors had emotions on their faces and I was like, ‘Man, this could be my last game.’ A couple overtimes later, we are celebrating going to the Sweet 16. That was a great moment that I will never forget.”

How he chose his current uniform number of 12: “I had 21 when I was in high school my freshman year. When I got Texas A&M, 12 was special because they are the home of the 12th man. They were like, ‘Jalen, we kind of want to give you 12.’ It’s kind of stuck with me, so I decided to continue to use it. I want to represent it well.”

One thing fans might be surprised to know about him: “I’m a great car singer. I feel like when I get in the car, my vocals go to a different level. I feel like I could get a record deal if they let me just sing in my car.” [smiles]

Favorite thing about New Orleans: “The food. I’m going to gain at least 10 more pounds before the season starts. They have so much good food here, and the seafood is on a different level. I can’t stop eating.”

Pregame ritual: “I always listen to music and get my stretching in. After that I’m good to go.”

First job: “In college, I worked at the recreation center on campus.”

Favorite athlete as a kid: “Kobe Bryant, hands down. I think he’s the greatest basketball player ever. I watched him growing up, and I still watch his highlights almost every night.”

What he’d be doing if he weren’t an NBA player: “I’d be in business somewhere, working in a big office.” [smiles]

Favorite type of music: “Hip-hop and R&B. My favorite rapper of all time is Lil Wayne. A crazy story, he actually shouted me out on College GameDay after we beat Kentucky. I think because it was because I did this ’94 Feet’ feature with Jay Bilas, and I said Lil Wayne was my favorite rapper. When he shouted me out, that was one of my best days ever. If I ever got a chance to see him, I’ve got to let him know what’s up.” [smiles]

Favorite TV show: “Power. It’s a summer show. It just finished up a couple weeks ago.”

Favorite movies of all time: “Above the Rim is a basketball classic. I used to watch that every day when I was young.”

Favorite phone app: “Snapchat. I like looking through people’s snaps and seeing what they are going through in their day.”

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