Over the last few months, pundits described Aaron Gordon as one jump shot away from being a superstar. The Orlando Magic must’ve agreed; they took the 6-9 forward with the No. 4 overall pick in last Thursday’s NBA Draft. This season, coach Jacque Vaughn will team the Arizona product with Victor Oladipo to form one of the most devastating one-two defensive punches in the Eastern Conference.
Just before the draft, we caught up with Gordon while he was in New York filming an exclusive NBA Roundtable as part of the American Express “Off the Court” experience. Along with other draftees Marcus Smart, Gary Harris, and Noah Vonleh, they talked with former NBA champion Rick Fox about what their journeys have been like and what’s next now that they’re going into the NBA. They also took social media questions from fans during a live chat.
Gordon, despite being the youngest in the group at only 18 years old, seemed completely ready for his shining moment. Throughout the lead-up to the NBA Draft, he brushed off the difficult questions—one team asked him how many pennies were in a million dollars…Gordon eventually got it right—and embraced the questions that mattered. Even if it initially surprised him, he understood that every workout was a competition, even if he was by himself.
“You’re still competing with yourself,” he told me, “and you’re still competing with the people who aren’t there who are going to be there later in the week or have already previously been there.”
That attitude is what attracted Orlando general manager Rob Hennigan, who says the organization is intrigued by Gordon’s competitiveness and his desire to impact the game in a variety of ways.
Before he gets ready for his rookie season, we asked Gordon about what’s playing in his headphones, and what he listens to before games.
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What are you currently listening to right now?
Aaron Gordon: J. Cole. Chance The Rapper. That’s pretty much it right now—a few other things here and there. A little bit of YG. A lot of rap, hip-hop.
I’m assuming you listen to music before a game. Do you listen to the same stuff all the time or do you have to switch it up for every game?
AG: I don’t know, man. It differs. I always go to the go-tos like old school Jay Z, old school Eminem. Those are real good. I don’t know, whatever I feel like I’m in the mood for.
Any particular songs?
AG: Oooh, oooh. I don’t know. “Turn my music high, high, high, high-er.” For Eminem, “On Fire” you know? Older stuff like that. Jay Z’s The Blueprint, and then some old school Lil Wayne—No Ceilings, stuff like that.
You’re from the West Coast. Do you think everyone’s musical taste differs on where they come from?
AG: Probably. Yeah. You ever heard of Mac Dre? (“I’ve heard of him, don’t know if I’ve ever listened to him.”). Yeah. See? Geography definitely. Mac Dre is big in the Bay, man. He’s huge in the Bay.
If you were trying to get someone to listen to him, what would you say? What songs would you give?
AG: “Feelin Myself,” “Get Stupid” or “Thizzle Dance.” There you go, those three. Listen to ‘em. Listen to ‘em, man.
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