On the court, Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum is a deft operator in the midrange. Off the court, he is a burgeoning media personality. The former Lehigh standout has a background in journalism and those skills shine on his podcast, Pull Up with CJ McCollum.
The New York Times reporter Scott Cacciola spoke with McCollum about his offseason and his work behind the microphone. Aside from his partnership with Chinese shoe company Li-Ning, McCollum opened up about several topics during the interview.
McCollum explained to Cacciola that one of his main objectives is making a connection that goes beyond the typical fan-player dynamic.
“A lot of it is getting listeners to relate to us, to understand that we have doubts, we have struggles, we have anxieties, we have stress — that there are times when we may have doubted ourselves, but we still overcame it,” he said.
Blazers newcomer Kent Bazemore, who recently appeared as a guest on McCollum’s podcast, echoed the same sentiments.
“It was an opportunity to share my story with his audience and for him to hear about some of the things I’ve been through,” Bazemore said. “Any time you can open up and be kind of vulnerable to the public, people seem to appreciate it.”
In regards to his news-making back-and-forth with Kevin Durant last year, McCollum revealed that it was just a friendly feud between peers.
“We’re friends, so it was funny,” McCollum said, “and it was really good for the ratings. I got us some really nice wine.”
You can read Cacciola’s full story on McCollum at The New York Times.