Photo via New Orleans Pelicans, Facebook

"All Good Things Come In 3," including the Pelicans' CJ McCollum

07:00 October 11, 2023
By: Kaitlin Lowe

CJ McCollum

[Photo via New Orleans Pelicans]

CJ McCollum, stellar shooting guard apart of our New Orleans Pelicans' iconic "Big 3," is a well versed basketball player, having played nine years in the NBA.

McCollum had been the first player to be drafted to the NBA from Lehigh, and further played for the Portland Trail Blazers from 2013-2022, before being traded to the New Orleans Pelicans. He had been named most improved player during the 2015-16 season and has many years of playoffs experience under his belt.

Now number 3 on the Pels, McCollum has had a whirlwind of an offseason but is back and ready for action this 2023-24 season.

McCollum's 2022-23 Season

While having played 75 games last season, McCollum had reportedly dealt with a long stretch of health related issues during half of these games due to an injured thumb and a shoulder he ultimately had to get surgery performed on.

Despite the injuries, he still recorded a phenomenal 20.9 point average for the season. Playing against the Philadelphia 76ers on December 30th, 2022, McCollum had put up 42 points total with 11 three pointers, setting the Pelicans franchise record for three points made in a game.

McCollum explains this past summer was the longest offseason of his career, as it was his first season having not made the playoffs, and he had underwent his first surgery. Having surgery shortly after the season, he said, "I had the physical and mental break I needed to decide how I wanted to get better and improve." This included rehabbing his shoulder for 10 weeks.

[Photo via NBA]

Back in Action for the 2023-2024 NBA Season

After reintroducing basketball post rehab, McCollum explains he is calculated and strategic with his training, focusing on a timeline that incorporates stability, conditioning, training, nutrition, and "anything that can help [him] be successful on the court."

Notably, McCollum's rigid offseason regimen has paid off this year according to Coach Green. "CJ's growth has been flooring, he's in tremendous shape," said Green, giving us a glimpse of what he calls a new "high level CJ".

CJ McCollum Media Day, via New Orleans Pelicans

McCollum not only has grown professionally during this offseason, but he shares he's made strides in work-life balance after welcoming a son, Jacobi, into his family this past January.

"Regardless of the game, I'm still a father and husband at home, which has given me real meaning and purpose," shared McCollum.

When asking him about his mindset heading into the new season on media day, he shed light on the Pelicans' performance from last season, saying, "We didn't play at a high level of consistency, we did a lot of things poorly, and we didn't deserve the chance to play in the playoffs." However, McCollum explains that the team's ability to acknowledge and learn from the past is crucial in locking in on the present and coming back stronger.

Considering Zion Willamson, Brandon Ingram, and McCollum had only played 10 games all together last season, fans and players alike are excited to see the three together in action. McCollum says that "I'm not sure what it can become. I think it could be really good and potentially very dangerous. But the more we play together, the better we will become."

Ultimately, McCollum shares that he's "looking forward to the season, I think it'll be a great year for us."

A Man Of Many Talents

[Photo via New Orleans Pelicans]

On and off the court, McCollum has built up quite the resume, having become a leader in various fields.

While McCollum is a locker-room leader for the Pels squad, he's also taken on some remarkable initiatives regarding youth education. McCollum had founded "CJ's Press Pass", which allows young, aspiring journalists the privilege of attending postgame news conferences, participating in events with McCollum, benefiting from one-on-one mentorship by media experts, and seeing their work published.

Having been a journalism major himself at Lehigh, he recognizes how uplifting this program can be to youth and urges them to follow their dreams.

In addition, McCollum is also the newest President of the National Basketball Players Association, a NBA Analyst for ESPN, and the host of popular podcast "Pull Up", and now "The CJ McCollum Show", giving an inside look into the world of the NBA.

Besides his vast NBA involvement and philanthropic ventures, McCollum is also an avid wine enthusiast, having even created his own label "McCollum Heritage 91", combining the name of the street he grew up on and his birth year.

More on the New Orleans Pelicans

Having only been in New Orleans for one past season, we can't wait to cheer McCollum on for his second year back and watch him in action this season with Ingram, Willamson, and the rest of our New Orleans Pelicans. Check back to read more about the New Orleans Pelicans games, players, events, and more. We can hardly wait for the regular season to begin. Go Pels!

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