December 16, 2008
O.J. Mayo may be on his way to the rookie of the year award. The West Virginia native is averaging almost 21 points a game, and is a big reason why the Grizzlies have won four in a row. Last week, I had the chance to catch up with the former USC star, and found out that he isn't that much different than your average 21-year-old.
Ball Don't Lie: What's the single craziest thing about the last year been for you?
O.J. Mayo: Probably just going from college to the pros. New experience. Travel. Different opponents every night, it's been crazy.
BDL: Has anything surprised you over that time?
Mayo: Not really ... just little things, nothing major.
BDL: I heard the guys were calling you, "Juice." Is that a nickname you've picked up since you've been here?
Mayo: Yeah, but I've had it for basically my whole life.
BDL: Has there been any rookie hazing since you got to Memphis?
BDL: Is it weird to think that more people showed up for your high school games than are showing up for your games in Memphis?
Mayo: Sometimes. But, I grew up in towns that were crazy about high school sports. But it's a little different.
BDL: I heard some of your teammates have been giving you a hard time about being from West Virginia. What do they say?
Mayo: (Smiles) What's in West Virginia?
BDL: So just the regular West Virginia jokes, nothing too creative.
BDL: I read that you scored a 29 on the ACT. What percentage of guys in the NBA could score a 29 on the ACT right now?
Mayo: (Smiles) I don't know. There's some smart guys though.
BDL: So you think there's a few that could score that high?
Mayo: I think so. I think so. You'd be surprised, man.
BDL: Switching it up a little bit, I read that your favorite food is spaghetti and meatballs, where the heck do you find spaghetti and meatballs in Memphis?
Mayo: Actually, my mom, she lives in Memphis with me, so she does a good job.
BDL: So she puts it together for you?
Mayo: (Smiles) Yeah, she makes great spaghetti.
BDL: You've been in Memphis for a few months now, and I'm sure they've got some great food, are there any restaurants you go to on a regular basis?
Mayo: Ruth's Chris, Flemings ...
BDL: That's all the trendy stuff, nothing that's unique to Memphis?
BDL: You were a business major in school, if you could do one thing to improve the NBA, what would it be?
Mayo: Probably lower ticket prices, so that more common people could come to the game ... families with less benefits could come and check out an NBA game.
BDL: Do you notice when there aren't many people at your games?
Mayo: Yeah, you definitely notice, but once you go out there and start competing [you don't notice as much] ...
BDL: Is playing in the Olympics a dream for you?
Mayo: Oh yeah, most definitely.
BDL: Is playing in the 2012 London Games a goal for you?
Mayo: Yeah, that's one of my goals ... [I have to] go in and work hard until 2012.
BDL: 'Melo said last month that he wanted to honor Obama by scoring 44 points. Do you have any tributes like that up your sleeve?
Mayo: Nah, I just want to play 82 games. It's a grinding season, a lot harder than people think. I just want to stay healthy and stay strong.
BDL: Some fans have made a website about you called OJMayonnaise.com? Have you ever looked at that?
Mayo: (Smiles) Nah, I haven't seen it.
BDL: Do you ever hear about stuff like that and think that some people have too much time on their hands?
Mayo: (Smiles) Yeah, kinda ... but it's nothing bad. I don't think anything bad about it, it just surprises you.
BDL: What's the biggest difference between living in LA and living in Memphis?
Mayo: Less people [in Memphis] (Laughs) A lot less people.
BDL: When you're walking down the streets in Memphis, do people recognize you or do they leave you alone?
Mayo: Yeah, but I don't walk around the streets that much.
BDL: OK, so what are you doing to pass the time when you're at home?
Mayo: I don't know, I go to Best Buy a lot, so they pretty much know me.
BDL: Are you going to pull an Artest, and work there so that you can get a discount?
Mayo: (Smiles) Nah.
BDL: When you're going into Best Buy, what are you picking up?
Mayo: DVD's, CD's, music ... electronics.
BDL: Danny Granger told me he has over 2,000 movies, are you a movie guy?
Mayo: Yeah, I'm a movie guy.
BDL: Do you have anywhere near 2,000.
Mayo: I don't know, I've never really sat down and counted, but I've got a lot of DVD's.
BDL: He said his top two were "Gladiator" and "Armageddon," what about you?
Mayo: I like "Godfather" and "Donnie [Brasco]."
BDL: That's like an MTV "Cribs" answer right there.
Mayo: (Smiles) Yeah.
BDL: People give you a hard time about your last name, do you even like mayonnaise?
Mayo: I like it a little bit, [but] I'm a Miracle Whip guy myself.
BDL: Oh yeah?
Mayo: Yeah, I like Miracle Whip.
BDL: So, did you ever watch the cartoon "Doug"?
BDL: Yeah, Doug Funnie.
Mayo: (Smiles) Oh yeah, I watched Doug Funnie.
BDL: You're the most famous ...
Mayo: Oh, Patti Mayonnaise! HAHA!
BDL: You're the most famous Mayo since Patti Mayonnaise.
Mayo: Yeah, I used to always watch that show.
BDL: What did you think about her? What do you think about bringing the Mayo back name back to the public light?
Mayo: I always wanted to know, if they ever made a movie, would she be hot or not?
BDL: OK, so if you could direct the movie version of "Doug," who would play Patti Mayonnaise?
Mayo: Umm ... (Pauses) I don't know cause she had a tan, so what ethnicity was she?
BDL: She had blonde hair. I don't know exactly.
Mayo: (Pauses) We'll go with Britney Spears.