EXCLUSIVE: DeAndre Jordan talks Call of Duty, Clippers, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, LeBron James, and more
On November 6, 2015, the Call of Duty franchise duty released Black Ops III, the 12th Call of Duty game and the third installment in the Black Ops series. Games like COD: Ghosts and COD: Infinite Warfare have been released since then, but a fourth Black Ops game was rumored for a while. It’s been nearly three years now, but Treyarch and Activision are getting set to release Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 in October of 2018.
Fans around the world are getting hyped for the new game in the Black Ops series, which featured an intriguing storyline following a CIA operative named Alex Mason in the first couple of games as well as a fascinating zombies and online mode. Among the large fanbase are some of the world’s most talented and popular athletes, like LA Clippers center DeAndre Jordan.
Jordan and his Clippers had an early end to their season when they came up short of a postseason berth for the first time in seven years. With a few months off before the start of free agency and another five months before the 2018-19 season starts, Jordan has a lot of free time on his hands and playing video games is one of the things he does in his free time to relax. Jordan sat down for an exclusive interview with ClutchPoints during the Call of Duty Community Reveal event last week to talk Call of Duty, video games, the Clippers, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, LeBron James, and much more.
TA: So DJ I take it you’re a big Call of Duty fan?
DJ: Yeah, I’m a fan. that doesn’t mean I’m good at it. But I definitely have fun with it and I try to get better.
TA: Do you have a favorite mode? Is it the online, zombies, the campaign?
DJ: You know what, I like the campaign mode and zombies. I’m not really up to where I want to be at online because people play hours upon hours every day so they’re really good. I feel like every time I spawn back in, 30 seconds later, I’m dead again. But it’s fun man, like I said before, it gets your anxiety going but you start to really feel like you’re in the game. I told them after I played it about 10-15 minutes, I was in a sweat.
TA: What kind of player are you? Are you a marksman who hangs back and snipes? Are you an assault guy, a heavy weapon guy?
DJ: I’m an assault guy. I’m tactical, I like to move around. I don’t like to go and just hide around in one spot and like, camp. I think that’s weak. But, I mean, whatever. To each his own, but for me, I’d rather be in the sh*t, you know?
TA: Do you have a favorite game from the Call of Duty franchise?
DJ: I like Ghosts and Black Ops 2. Me and my friend play World War II. Lot of World War II lately.
TA: How long have you been playing video games?
DJ: I’ve been playing video games since… Man, pretty much the start of my childhood. I have three younger brothers so we had a video game system, obviously we all shared it. It was just something to really keep us out of trouble. I played for a pretty long time.
TA: Any of your teammates play video games that you know of?
DJ: Yeah, a lot of the younger guys play. I think Boban [Marjanovic] is a video game guy, but yeah man. I think that no matter what age you are, whatever your occupation is, we all played games as kids, so it kind of brings you back a little bit.
TA: Having that 82-game grind, does this sort of help you get away and escape all that?
DJ: Yeah, yeah! Obviously, our season ended earlier than we expected, than I expected. It’s like an extra month of offseason time that you get so I really didn’t know what to do. I was kind of just sitting around. But with games like this coming out, it’s cool to have something to do once you get home, you’re done working out, and you have a period of time before your next workout. It’s fun.
TA: Like you said, the season did end early for you guys. Have you had a chance to reflect on this whirlwind of a season?
DJ: It was up and down, it was great at times, it was frustrating at times, but I feel like we all were really optimistic really throughout the entire season. Like I said, I loved going to battle with those guys all season, coaches and players, so that was cool. I’ve had time to reflect on it a little bit, but I’ve been mainly just trying to focus on resting, getting my mind right, and being a dad as well.
TA: You, personally, had to endure a lot this season with the trade rumors, the ankle injury the free agency speculation, and people assume that basketball players can just pick up and go play wherever they’re traded if it happens. But it is your life, your family. Did rumors and things of that nature weigh you down at any point during the season?
DJ: I think that you think about it a little bit, but I’ve always said that for the past 3 years, I’ve been hearing the same s**t. It doesn’t faze me anymore, I don’t get emotional about it anymore. Like, I just finished my 10th season in the NBA, so it’s like I’ve seen a lot of great things and I’ve also seen a lot of s**tty things happen to players, coaches, myself. So it’s a business at the end of the day. You can’t let your feelings and emotions and the loyalty part get into it because that’s all bulls**t. It’s like, at this point, you’ve got to figure out what’s best for you, your career, your family, longevity. Those are the things that you have to worry about. So I feel like now, that’s what it is.
TA: Is there any one player you saw grow or progress as the season went on?
DJ: Oh my goodness… Man, I feel like we had so many different guys on our team, but I could name 10 guys for you. Sindarius [Thornwell] got better this year. Jawun [Evans] got better even though he had some injuries. Tyrone Wallace, C.J. Williams, guys that we called up from the G League to come in and they helped us win games this season. The Sixth man of the year Lou Williams, I saw him get better every night throughout the season and I’m just really lucky to be a part of that and being able to witness that. We had a lot of guys get better this year.
TA: Tobias Harris and Boban Marjanovic were traded midseason, and that can be hard for players, but you guys seem to click from day one, dancing on the court and all that. How did that come about? Is that something you talked about or just something you do?
DJ: It’s just like a connection type of thing. I feel like I get along with pretty much anybody, it doesn’t matter who it is. When they came, Bobi was pretty funny so he and I sort of gravitated towards each other. Bobi and Tobias were pretty close in Detroit, so we all just kind of hung out, went to dinner a lot together. We even did karaoke a couple nights. My thing is with my teammates, I’m a friendly guy, I like to have fun. I like to get involved and have conversations. I like to find things that me and my teammates get along with outside the basketball court. That’s something that I want to do.
TA: Did you see that sad faced photo Tobias and Boban posted after trying to FaceTime you and you didn’t answer?
DJ: Yeah! And you know what’s crazy? I called them right back too, but they s**tted on me on social media. I was like, “Yo, I just called you, you gotta take that s**t down,” and they were like, “Nah, you missed the call,” so they made me look bad. But it’s cool, I get it.
— Tobias Harris (@tobias31) May 11, 2018
TA: Milos Teodosic had a DIME to you late in the season in a game against the Bucks… A no look, backwards, over the shoulder pass…-
DJ: -And I dunked it. I had no idea that was coming.
I’ve played with some amazing point guards and he is up there with the top three passing point guards that I’ve ever played with. In my mind, two Hall-of-Fame point guards coming up. First was Baron Davis, then it was obviously Chris Paul. I’ve been able to be very lucky and fortunate to have those guys who are, all three, pass-first and pass-second guys. He’s right up there with the best passing wise.
TA: Speaking of Chris Paul, he just made his first Conference Finals with the Houston Rockets. Have you spoken to him?
DJ: Funny that you ask because, yeah, I actually just talked to Chris right when I pulled up here. We still talk a lot. We talk… A LOT. And that’s just from the six years that we had with each other, we grew super close. We’re like brothers man, honestly, and just like any other brother, you’re gonna have great times, you’re going to butt heads, but at the end of the day, you still love each other and that’s what our relationship was. It was a big brother-little brother kind of relationship, and he watched as I developed throughout those years into the player that I am today and into the player that I want to become. He’s definitely had a lot of impact on that. That’s why we’ve stayed in touch and we’ve become such stronger friends.
TA: Now you say you and Chris are like little brother-big brother. What’s your relationship with Blake Griffin like? Have you guys talked since the trade?
DJ: Yeah we’ve definitely talked since the trade. I’m happy for him man. He seems happy there, they have a good young nucleus there and bringing a guy like him to that team was great, him and Andre [Drummond] play well together. They’re going to do great things together down the line. Hopefully not against us, but they’re gonna be great together. Whenever they figure out what their next move is, I feel like they’re going to be even better.
TA: Coach Doc Rivers praised you this season for keeping your head in the game through the injuries, the trades, the ups and downs of the season. What can you say about the job that he’s done this year?
DJ: I think Doc’s done an amazing job man. He’s one of the greatest coaches in our league, he did an amazing job coaching us this season. Like you said, throughout the injuries, trades, new players, 10-days, two-way guys, he figured out a way for us all to come together, mesh, find a way to win games, and to find a way to ultimately create our own destiny in terms of making the playoffs. Even though we came up a little short, I feel like he and our coaching staff put us in situations to be successful and win basketball games to try and extend our postseason hopes. We didn’t, but I still commend him for the job that he and coaching staff did. He’s a great coach. He’s the best coach I’ve ever had.
TA: You have your mom at the games and your brothers as well. What’s it mean to have that kind of support group behind you every step of the way?
DJ: They’ve been my support group and my constructive criticism team, since I first got ranked in high school. Just to have that support system, even though they have things going on, they still check in with me and make sure I’m good and let me know, “hey, you know you need to dunk this and not lay it up,” or something like that. It’s all in great fun, but I’m really fortunate to have people like that around who are still able to love what I do and want me to continue to get better.
TA: You watching the NBA playoffs?
DJ: I started watching this round, the Conference Finals, because I was still heartbroken the first couple of weeks. I was f**ked up behind that because I’d been the playoffs six or seven years in a row, and now, to not be involved… That night that we lost, it was tough to know that ‘hey, your season’s not over, but your postseason is over.’ That was tough. Like I said, it was a great run we had, but you know, things happen and you’ve got to try to pick it back up.
TA: You’ve seen what LeBron James is doing right? With these 40-point, near triple-double games. He’s the best player, but is he still surprising people with these types of performances?
DJ: Yeah he’s amazing man. Just to be in your 15th year and still getting better… I feel like in any sport, either you’ve reached your pinnacle, skill-wise and athletically, already but I feel like we’ve seen that from him, and then we’ve seen even more. He’s definitely a freak of nature and one of the greatest basketball players we’ve all ever been able to see on TV or live. We should definitely be taking this in, what we’re seeing. He’s great. I dont expect anything less from a guy like that.
TA: You said that you were heartbroken after the season ended. Does that motivate you to come back next year, regardless of the team you’re on, to make the postseason again?
DJ: Yeah it definitely motivates me to try and make the postseason next year. I want to be back in that environment, in that intensity of the playoffs, the practices, the games, the travel, the gritty environment of the fans on the road is amazing. The playoffs is just a different atmosphere and environment, so just to be able to get back to that would be great.