A month ago, Andre Drummond, one of the NBA’s premiere young big men, officially inked his deal with Jordan Brand. Today, he walked into the Jordan “First to Fly” event in Las Vegas wearing a pair of Air Jordan XIV Breds—size 18. The good people at Jumpman better prepare to make a whole lot more in his size, too, since the Pistons 7-footer is known for his bold taste in kicks.
Detroit’s emerging star felt right at home taking in the action from Chris Paul’s “The 8” AAU Tournament at Jordan’s pop-up court inside The Cosmopolitan Hotel. After all, despite being one of the most intimidating forces in the NBA, Drummond doesn’t even turn 21 until next month.
“It’s beautiful, the court, the setup, having the DJ playing,” Drummond told SLAM on Saturday afternoon, moments after seeing the event space for the first time. “I played AAU—I just finished playing, what, like maybe four years ago? I’ve never seen a DJ on an AAU court in my life before.”
Read the rest of our conversation, on his first month as a Jordan Brand team member and his expectations for the Pistons in 2013-14, below.
SLAM: What’s your impression of Jordan’s “First to Fly” event here in Las Vegas?
Andre Drummond: Jordan has really done something special here, where kids feel comfortable and in their element, hearing their favorite songs being played, having the DJ say your name on the court. Stuff like that gives you a boost and makes the competition more intense. The stuff that Jordan is doing is great. Having the new shoe out here so everybody can see what it looks like in the different colorways, it’s a great event. The tournament has some great players, some that I even got a chance to play against when I was playing AAU, so it’s kind of special. It’s cool to see how much these kids have grown and how much better they’ve gotten.
SLAM: It’s been about a month now since you signed with Jordan Brand. How’s it going so far?
AD: It’s great, man. As a kid, I always had Jordans in my closet, from I to 23. I had them all in all different kind of colors and styles. So to be a part of the family, it’s a blessing. It’s really exciting that they have an interest in me, seeing that I’m a player of their stature, to have me on the brand.
SLAM: Even before the deal, you always wore Jordans. Are you excited to see what kind of PEs and colorways they send your way now?
AD: Yeah. A lot of people know my style. I wear a lot of crazy different colors on the court and difrerent styles. People have seen that and they’ve become fond of me. So I think Jordan is really going to do something special for me, with my colorways.
SLAM: You’re joining a Jordan Brand roster that includes guys like Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Blake Griffin. What’s it like to be on that team now?
AD: Just to have a chance to represent Michael Jordan, knowing that I’ve worn his stuff so much. It’s cool that he knows my name. A lot of people don’t get a chance to say that. So, it’s cool that I get paid to wear it. It’s a blessing that I was on the list of guys picked to represent Jordan.
SLAM: What about just being able to hang out with those guys, like seeing CP3 here today?
AD: It’s cool. Chris and I are in constant communication—I look at him as a mentor. Joe Johnson, he’s also a great guy to look up to. Jared Sullinger is one of my better friends in the NBA. Knowing that another big like that is wearing the same shoe as me is kinda cool, too. It’s been a fun ride this past month being signed with Jordan.
SLAM: What are you working on this summer, what are your goals?
AD: This summer, I’ve been working on my back-to-the-basket game, I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with it, both my right and my left hand. Stan [Van Gundy] is going to put the ball in my hands this upcoming season. So I have to really work hard on being comfortable with it, and I feel like I’ve done a good job of that this year, staying well-conditioned and becoming a lot more comfortable with the ball in my hands, making the right decisions.
SLAM: The Pistons have made a lot of moves this summer. Have you been keeping track of the transactions and what Coach Van Gundy’s been trying to do with the roster?
AD: Yeah, yeah. You know, Stan and I talk literally every day. He’s one of those guys that, he will call your phone every day if he has your number, just to check on you. It doesn’t even have to be about basketball. He’ll just call you to say, Hey, I’m thinking about you, just to say “Hi.” I feel like that constant communication can be so beneficial for us—you know that he’s always thinking about us, thinking about the next move to help out organization get better. I’m really excited that he’s our coach, and that he’s doing the things he’s doing.
Photo via Jordan Brand