I’m the opposite of moderate, immaculately polished with the spirit of a hustler and the swagger of a college kid.”
That’s a line from Atlanta’s home-grown rapper T.I. off of the song “Live Your Life,” and that sentence pretty much sums up what rookie phenom O.J. Mayo is right now. He just has IT. He was in town recently to play the Atlanta Hawks as well as to help introduce the marketing agency Eighty81, which is opening up a new office in Atlanta. I caught up with him for a few minutes to get his thoughts on life in the league.
Calandra Coone: What’s life like in the NBA? How is it different from college?
O.J. Mayo: I think it’s all the travel, you know, the climate changes. The travel is really rough going from city to city. You go from a cold city to a warm city and you’ve really just got to make sure you get enough rest.
C.C.: You’re averaging over 20 points per game, so you seem to be adjusting pretty well. Is Rookie of the Year something you’re shooting for?
O.J.: Nah, not really. I’m not really a person who looks for individual goals. I’m more of a team-goals type of person. I’m just looking to help better our team.
C.C.: What was it like for you on draft night being traded from the Timberwolves to the Grizzlies? Did you take that personally?
O.J.: Well, it just let me know that the NBA is definitely a business. I didn’t know I got traded until I saw it on TV. So it just let me know that it’s a business and I have to maintain, be a professional and stay strong.
C.C.: Are you going to be extra-motivated when you face the Timberwolves for the first time?
O.J.: Yeah probably so, haha, probably so.