Our magazine’s Hustle & Flow section is usually dedicated to rappers with ties to basketball, but this month the script has been flipped—we’re spotlighting Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum. Sure, since earning a larger role with the Blazers, the future star has taken advantage of expanded minutes by averaging nearly 21 points and 4.3 assists per. But you may not know that the Canton native also entertains PDX residents off the court via his Playlist radio show on local hip-hop and R&B station Jam’n 107.5.
The show airs Fridays at 10 p.m. and features CJ hosting alongside Northwest hip-hop pioneer Terrance “Cool Nutz” Scott. The show is programmed straight from McCollum’s day-to-day playlist. Listeners might hear Travi$ Scott and Midnight Star or Bryson Tiller and ’90s R&B. “My mom and dad listened to a lot of Marvin Gaye and Mary J. Blige,” CJ says. “Because of that I have a pretty good ear for music and an appreciation for all genres.”
This isn’t McCollum’s first time in radio. He caught the bug as a student at Lehigh, as a guest on a college radio show. In his own estimation, he was terrible, but he’s since improved. He was excellent as a host on SiriusXM’s NBA channel, a job he says prepared him for this current gig.
Playlist show producer Geoff “G-Off” Owens calls CJ a natural on the mic. His conversational style works well alongside Cool Nutz’ polished presence. In between playing their favorite songs, listeners will hear the guys discuss sports, movies, TV, lifestyle, family and more. “I had the pleasure of working closely with Rasheed Wallace when he was here,” says Scott, “and CJ continues that grassroots connection with the community as well as the music.”
The feeling is mutual. “It’s a lot of fun working with Cool Nutz,” McCollum says. “He’s a nice guy, a guy who’s been around and has an understanding of not only the music but the Portland culture.”
The third-year guard says he could definitely see himself continuing in the field, but he will not be following in the rap footsteps of his backcourt mate Damian “Dame Dolla” Lillard. “I’m not going to even pretend to be a rapper,” he says. “I could probably sing a hook in auto-tune or something but that’s the extent. I want to continue to build my [radio] résumé so when I’m done playing I will have a pretty solid portfolio.”
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